London: Al Qaeda “will probably come back” as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.
Wallace is highly critical of Washington’s decision to withdraw troops from the country, describing a deal signed by the US and the Taliban as a “mistake” and “rotten”, Sky News reported.
Asked about the situation in Afghanistan, Wallace said: “I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people.
“Of course I am worried, it is why I said I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because, of course, Al Qaeda will probably come back, certainly would like that type of breeding ground.
“That is what we see, failed states around the world lead to instability, lead to a security threat to us and our interests.”
The Defence Secretary said it was his view that the deal signed by the US and the Taliban in Qatar in 2020 under then-Republican President Donald Trump to withdraw from Afghanistan was a “mistake” and a “rotten deal”.
Trump’s successor, Democrat Joe Biden, has continued with the withdrawal timetable since taking office in January.
Wallace said of the deal: “I felt that that was a mistake to have done it that way, that we will all as an international community pay the consequences of that, but when the United States as the framework nation took that decision, the way we were all configured, the way we had gone in meant that we had to leave as well.”
Speaking to Sky News, former International Development Secretary Rory Stewart described the situation in Afghanistan as “terrifying” and added: “It’s a total betrayal by the United States and by the United Kingdom.”
He said it was not a given that other countries had to pull out once the US had decided to do so, expressing his view that NATO countries could have “taken up that slack”.
And Stewart said “we are going to end up with terrorists” as a result of what is going on.
“This is a horrifying group associated with terrorists, they have been backing suicide bombing in the areas they control, women are not going to school and it is a total betrayal by the United States and the United Kingdom,” he said.