The UK wanted US troops to stay in Afghanistan, the military chief has revealed.
General Sir Nick Carter said President Biden’s decision to withdraw 2,500 US troops by September 11 was “not the decision” wanted by the UK.
The Chief of the Defense Staff said: “This is not a decision that we were hoping for. But we obviously respect it, and it is clearly an acknowledgment of the evolving strategic posture of the United States. . “
Earlier this week, President Biden pledged to end the United States’ “forever war” in Afghanistan, which began 20 years ago after 9/11, when it first arrived for overthrow the Taliban regime hosting Osama bin Laden.
NATO has said the withdrawal process will begin on May 1 and could be completed in just a few months.
However, many have warned that the UK, which agreed to an “orderly departure of our forces” by withdrawing the remaining 750 British troops before the deadline, said it had no choice but to cooperate because to remain without the United States was impossible.
Former Defense Secretary Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Special Defense Committee, said the US move risked “losing the peace” and allowing extremism to “regroup.” It was “worrying” and “not the right decision”.
He said the British forces had “no choice” but to leave because of the “large force protection capabilities of the United States that we have benefited from.”
Mr Ellwood added: “The remaining Allied forces are unable to fill this void without improving our posture for which there is no political appetite.”
There are also fears that leaving Afghanistan without NATO military protection could lead to civil war.
Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, has claimed that his government can endure the Taliban without the help of American troops, although it depends heavily on American support.
Earlier this year, the US Treasury said the notorious faction of the Taliban’s Haqqani Network had considered forming a joint unit with Al Qaeda as the terror group gained strength in Afghanistan.
He added that the terrorist organization continues to operate with the Taliban and is protected by the Afghan insurgent movement fighting against Mr. Ghani’s government, although the Taliban has agreed to turn its back on terrorism in exchange for a withdrawal of American troops.
Sir Nick dismissed the concerns, insisting the Taliban had changed.
He told the Today program: “Women are highly respected. There is a decent education system and very dynamic media. And I actually think the Taliban is no longer the organization it once was.
Sir Nick added: “It’s an organization that has evolved a lot in the 20 years we’ve been there. And I think they recognize that they need some political legitimacy and I wouldn’t be surprised if that scenario came to fruition and didn’t see it as bad as some of the naysayers are perhaps predicting right now. .
However, Robert Clark, who served in Afghanistan and is a Defense Fellow with the Henry Jackson Society, said: “NATO forces continue to play a much needed role not only in providing security, but in enabling and developing the Afghan National Army. ”
Mr. Clark added that once the United States and the British leave “in just five months the situation on the ground will unfortunately be dire, facing the besieged Afghan government and Afghan security forces.”
He added: “At present, NATO forces provide three victory capabilities: intelligence, medical evacuation and close air support. Without it, an emboldened Taliban and the resurgence of Al Qaeda and Islamic State will seize this power vacuum in Kabul. “
Mr. Clark said “once again it will be the Afghan citizens themselves who will suffer”.
“The Taliban have already recently reaffirmed their insistence on strict Sharia law and their brutal system of local governance that the central government in Kabul will be powerless to stop following this premature withdrawal from NATO.