Defence Secretary says Donald Trump deal with Taliban 'couldn't have been more helpful' to regime

The Defence Secretary has blamed Donald Trump for the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hit out at the US president over Afghanistan.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hit out at the US president over Afghanistan.

Ben Wallace told MPs that the former president's agreement with the Islamic extremists left Nato with no choice but to withdraw.

Appearing before the Defence Committee in Westminster, Mr Wallace also admitted western resolve “failed”.

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He said: “I don’t think that we were defeated. Our resolve was found wanting, I would say, rather than defeated.

“Nato were there to enable a political campaign and I think that is what failed. The military were there to put in place the security environment in order to try and deliver that.

“When that is withdrawn, that is when you find out whether your political campaign has worked. What was we discovered is it didn’t work.

“It was the western resolve and the western narrative or political foundations they had laid failed. There are a lot of searching questions there for all of us.”

The agreement was made in Doha, and was criticised by the chair of the committee, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood.

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He said: "Afghanistan did not participate in Doha, so you had the Americans speaking directly to the Taliban.”

The arrangement saw the US withdrawing thousands of troops in exchange for Taliban commitments to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed for terrorist attacks.

It set a timetable continued by President Joe Biden, despite international opposition.

Mr Wallace also told MPs the initial Nato mission in Afghanistan to dismantle al Qaida in the wake of the 9/11 attacks had been a success.

He said: “That was a military success and a political success up until we left. We bought counter-terrorism success for 20 years,” he told the Commons Defence Committee.

“Al Qaida did not mount successfully a terrorist attack on the United Kingdom or her allies from Afghanistan. For many soldiers that is very important.”

The senior Tory also warned the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban could see an al Qaida resurgence.

He added: “I think it is highly likely that we will see a return to al Qaida and an increasing threat coming from Afghanistan, but for 20 years we were safer.”

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