London, Aug 14: UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the US decision to pull its troops out of Afghanistan was a “mistake”, which has handed the Taliban a “momentum” in the country.
Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Wallace said the withdrawal agreement negotiated in Doha, Qatar, by the administration of former US President Donald Trump was a “rotten deal”, reports Xinhua news agency.
“At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that was a mistake to have done it that way. We will all, in the international community probably pay the consequences of that,” Wallace said.
“I’ve been pretty blunt about it publicly and that’s quite a rare thing when it comes to US decisions, but strategically it causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it’s very difficult for what we’re seeing today.
“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,” the Defence Secretary added.
Talking about the withdrawal of British troops from the country, Wallace said the UK had no choice but to pull its forces out, because the international community had to act together.
“When the US as the framework nation took that decision, the way we were all configured meant that we had to leave,” he said.
The Defence Secretary also confirmed that Britain will deploy 600 troops to Afghanistan to help British nationals and interpreters leave the country.
The US said on Thursday that it will deploy thousands of troops to Kabul airport to support embassy staff drawdown.
The situation in the war-torn country has been worsening since the withdrawal of US-led troops starting on May 1.
Many Afghan cities and about half of the country’s 34 provinces in recent weeks have witnessed heavy battles and intense fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants.
The Taliban claims to have taken control of more than 10 provincial capitals so far.
US President Joe Biden ordered the American military to end its mission in Afghanistan by August 31.
Earlier this month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blamed the speedy withdrawal of US-led troops for the worsening violence in his country.