The world “got it wrong” on how soon the Taliban would take over Afghanistan, the British army chief said on Sunday, after the UK government acknowledged intelligence suggested that Kabul was “likely to fall this year” after Western troops was not” withdrew from the war-torn country.
The US and other countries were shut down by the astonishingly rapid collapse of the West-backed Afghan military and government after the Taliban’s lightning victory over Afghanistan last month and NATO troops left the country.
Britain’s Chief of Defense Staff General Nick Carter told the BBC: “Its speed surprised us and I don’t think we realized what the Taliban were doing.”
Asked whether the military intelligence is wrong, he said the government has received intelligence from various sources.
“It’s not purely about military intelligence,” he said.
The last British and American troops left Afghanistan a week ago, marking the end of their 20-year military campaign in the country. The way the West withdrew from Afghanistan has been criticized, with questions about how the Taliban were able to take control of the country at such a speed.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told lawmakers last week that the intelligence assessment was that there would be a “continuous deterioration” in the security situation in August, but “Kabul was unlikely to fall this year”. However, the Taliban captured Kabul on 15 August and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking to BBC, Nick was asked how the predictions were wrong.
“I think everybody misunderstood it, there’s a direct answer,” he said. “Even the Taliban didn’t expect things to change so quickly.”
Asked whether military intelligence was wrong, Nick said: “No… multiple assessments suggested it would not last during the year and, of course, that has been proven correct.”
He said: “It’s a much broader thing than just strict military intelligence.” The way it works in this country, we have the Joint Intelligence Committee that sits inside the Cabinet Office. So what they do is pull together sources from the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign Office, inter-agencies and secret intelligence services, and extensive open source material.”
He added: “I don’t think anyone could have predicted how fragile the Afghan government was and how fragile it was with respect to the command of its armed forces.”
Commenting on intelligence assessments at a Pentagon news conference after the Taliban took control of Kabul, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the time frame for the fall of the Afghan government was “widely predictable and ranged from weeks to months or more”. was even for years. After we left.”
“There was nothing that I or anyone else had seen that indicated the fall of this army and this government in 11 days,” Milley said.
The Taliban is expected to announce a new government soon, meaning foreign powers will have to adapt to the prospect of dealing with an administration led by Taliban militants.
The British army chief said it was too early to say how the Taliban would rule, but that the group would likely be less repressive than previously thought.
He said, “First of all, it is not looking good at the moment. But let’s see what happens. It may well change.”
“I also think they’re not that stupid [not] Know that the Afghan people have changed and they want a different form of governance.”
The Taliban were accused of killing a female police officer on Sunday. The killing comes amid reports that the group is increasing the repression of women.
It is now up to the international community to encourage the Taliban to govern differently, he said.
“They need a little help to run a modern state effectively,” he said.
“If they behave, maybe they will get some help,” he said.
Nick said the threat of terrorism would depend on whether an effective government could be formed in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the shadow foreign secretary of the opposition Labor Party, Lisa Nandy, said there was a strong possibility that the UK could be less secure now because of the events in Afghanistan.
The Indian-origin politician said, “The important task for the government… is to ensure that Afghanistan does not once again become a hotbed of terrorism.”
He called on Britain to take a shared approach to the Taliban and to work with other countries to demand the rights of women and girls living in Afghanistan – not just with its allies.