UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has warned that the fall of almost all of Afghanistan to the Taliban is weakening the West’s positions in the eyes of its international opponents.
“There is something that makes me uncomfortable, which is that there is a world order now in which our opponents see that the will of the West is slackened,” Wallace said in statements.
The UK minister stressed that there is “something that everyone should worry about”, saying: “If they consider the West to be disintegrated and no longer possessing resolve, our opponents such as Russia may find this encouraging.”
Wallace warned of the consequences of recent developments in Afghanistan, explaining that “militants around the world will see it as a victory,” and that these events “will encourage other terrorists.”
This comes in light of conflicting statements by senior UK officials about developments in Afghanistan.
Britain fears the possibility of US forces withdrawing from Kabul International Airport within days, putting it at risk of closure and raising concerns about the emergency airlift of thousands of people from Afghanistan.
The UK government said they could not guarantee how long the United States would keep its 6,000-strong contingent on the ground and warned that the evacuations could not continue without their presence.
Some in the government believe there is a shift by UK ministers and the army towards dealing with the Taliban and legitimizing their role.
General Sir Nick Carter, the commander of the UK armed forces, said he believed the Taliban wanted an “inclusive Afghanistan” and described them as “the boys of the countryside.” In response to a question about the Taliban’s oppression of women, he said: “I think they have changed and realized that Afghanistan has evolved and women have a fundamental role in this development.”
Boris Johnson also hinted at the possibility of recognizing the Taliban, perhaps in association with other countries, telling MPs: “We will judge this regime on the choices it makes and its actions rather than its words.”