‘What happened to Global Britain?’ UK role questioned amid brewing Afghanistan crisis
UK's role put into question amid brewing Afghanistan crisis
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The UK announced on Thursday evening 600 troops would be deployed to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation of British citizens amid the growing threat of Kabul falling into the hands of Taliban insurgents. At least eight regional capitals have reportedly been taken over, with reports of brutal killings of Afghanistan forces and civilians emerging. Political commentator Shabnan Nasimi questioned the UK and US’ decision to withdraw all troops from the country over recent years as she suggested the move undermined the Government’s efforts to establish the idea of Global Britain – a policy Boris Johnson has been pursuing in the aftermath of Brexit.
Speaking to LBC, Ms Nasimi said: “I think this is not our finest hour.
“I guess what comes to mind is, what has happened to Global Britain or America is back?
“It’s a very deadly and dangerous situation for the people of Afghanistan. In my personal opinion, it’s a strategic error and a human tragedy in the making.
“And to just give you some perspective, 5,000 civilians have been killed in the most recent fighting.
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“We know 30,000 people a week are fleeing the country and we also know around 1,000,000 are displaced fleeing from areas under Taliban control in the country.”
Britain’s last combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014 but the United States maintained a presence in the region until May, when US President Joe Biden confirmed all remaining soldiers garrisoned there would return home.
Prime Minister Johnson has long maintained withdrawal from the European Union would allow the UK to reclaim its position as Global Britain, a campaign leading members of the Government have been promoting through negotiations for new commercial deals across the world.
But the policy has come into question already in the past following the decision to cut foreign aid, which prompted backlash from both the Opposition parties and members of Mr Johnson’s own party.
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But following the recent development in Afghanistan, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has not ruled out the UK returning to the area following the withdrawal of troops, either on the ground or by carrying out airstrikes.
Mr Wallace was asked if the British Government could authorize the return for future military operations if al Qaida or other terrorist organisations rise in Afghanistan.
He said: “If you want to cut out the short-term threat globally, wherever Britain has a threat to her interests and her people, we have a global counter-terrorism capability…
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“It is obviously not as perfect as being based in a country as we have been in Afghanistan but we retain military capability to deal with a threat where we face it or we have to deal with it under international law.
“If there is an imminent threat emanating anywhere in the world. Britain, the United States, France, other countries have a capability to deal with that.”
He added: “I will always deploy either force or disruptive capabilities alongside other parts of the British state – or indeed a coalition – to protect our national security and our interests. We will always do that, we will reserve the right to do it, and that is a global capability.”
Despite the backlash, President Biden has insisted he does not regret his decision to have US troops pull out from Afghanistan.
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