UK defense secretary: Afghanistan turning into failed state where al-Qaeda will return

Afghanistan is becoming a failed state where terrorist groups including al-Qaeda can come back and pose security risks towards Western countries, the British defense minister said on Friday.

“I am absolutely worried,” defense minister Ben Wallace told Sky News. “Failed states are breeding grounds for those type of people … (and) al-Qaeda will probably come back.”

Ben Wallace reproached the U.S. removal of troops from Afghanistan, labelling a peace agreement signed by the U.S. and the Taliban in 2020 under president Trump as a “mistake” and “rotten.”

“Britain found that out in the 1830s — that it is a country led by warlords and led by different provinces and tribes, and you end up, if you’re not very careful, in a civil war,” he told the BBC. “I think we are heading towards a civil war.”

As the speed of the Taliban offensive continues to shock the Afghan government and its Western allies, Wallace warned that the Taliban is a group with “all sorts of different interests.”

“Failed states around the world lead to instability and lead to a security threat to us and our interests,” he added, noting the U.K. would have the right to defend itself if terror plots against it are uncovered in Afghanistan.

The Taliban was in control of the country between 1996 and 2001, after which it was overthrown for sheltering al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Afghanistan’s second and third largest cities, Kandahar and Herat, fell to the Taliban on Thursday.

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