Terror warning: Afghanistan ‘abandonment’ could come back to haunt UK
Afghanistan: Taliban fighters capture US military equipment
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Mr Ellwood – who is himself a former soldier – branded the situation ‘embarrassing’ and warned both China and Russia would be only too eager to fill the void left by US President Joe Biden’s decision to pull troops out by the end of the month. The Taliban mounted coordinated attacks on three cities in the country last night, with Government forces fighting a desperate – and apparently losing – battle to hold back the tide.
Speaking to Express.co.uk yesterday, the Tory MP said: “This is really embarrassing for the West.
“We’ve lost credibility to uphold and defend democracy when we’re leaving after 20 years in this way.”
Referring to the location of the former UK military headquarters, he added: “The situation in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province is deeply saddening.
“Not only that, imagine if we had left Germany to its own devices after World War 2.
“Where would the Iron Curtain be now?
“We nurtured that country back to full democratic status, and it is now an economic powerhouse today.”
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Mr Ellwood warned: “Here we are giving this back to the Taliban who no doubt will offer a safe haven to terrorist groups.
“So, mark my words, you’re going to see mass migration challenges coming from Afghanistan, humanitarian catastrophes and rising terrorist attacks.”
Referring to Beijing and Moscow, Mr Ellwood added: “If you think of the tilt of power this century from the West to the East, where is Afghanistan?
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“It sits between India Russia and China.
“And what a shame we couldn’t energise ourselves to really lean into Afghanistan and make it work and be that bastion of Muslim democracy in what will be a critical part of the world.
“And we now, when our persona non grata – it really is very sad to see.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Major General Sami Sadat, who is leading the fight against the Taliban in Helmand province, the scene of intense fighting in recent days, said the crisis had implications far beyond his country’s borders.
He said the Taliban was being reinforced by other groups from outside the country.
He added: “This will increase the hope for small extremist groups to mobilise in the cities of Europe and America, and will have a devastating effect on global security.
“This is not a war of Afghanistan, this is a war between liberty and totalitarianism.”
Mr Sadaat said “hundreds and hundreds” of fanatics were arriving to fight “shoulder to shoulder” with the Taliban.
Currently, US air support is keeping the Taliban back with targeted airstrikes – but he warned this would end when the US fully pulls out, at which point he was concerned the group will “mobilise” and help the Taliban “rebuild”.
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