UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admits 20-year Afghan navy marketing campaign led to failure

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was proud of the evacuation effort and subsequent Afghan relocation scheme. PA

A 12 months after the Taliban reclaimed energy in Afghanistan, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has mentioned the West’s two-decade navy marketing campaign within the nation led to failure.

Lots of of UK troops misplaced their lives within the marketing campaign and Mr Wallace revealed he feared their bereaved dad and mom would ask: “What was all of it for?”

You are reading: UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admits 20-year Afghan navy marketing campaign led to failure

Monday marks a 12 months for the reason that Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and toppled the West-backed Afghan authorities virtually unopposed ― a unprecedented finish to twenty years of overseas occupation.

It’s also a 12 months for the reason that launch of Operation Pitting, Britain’s largest evacuation effort since Second World Battle, throughout which greater than a thousand British troops had been despatched to rescue stranded UK residents.

Mr Wallace informed the Mail newspaper that he labored around the clock all through the operation, and likewise suffered sleepless nights after being despatched demise threats from animal rights activists who believed he ought to have prioritised the menagerie of animals owned by UK armed forces veteran Pen Farthing, who ran a sanctuary in Kabul.

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There’s a prevailing sentiment that Operation Pitting was just too sluggish to scale up, an accusation Mr Wallace mentioned was unfounded,

“Once we began the relocation scheme they weren’t queuing up of their 1000’s, the nation was steady sufficient. What we hadn’t achieved then was convey many individuals again,” he mentioned.

“However instantly, as the material of the nation started to fold, these folks grew to become very susceptible. We didn’t simply flip up on the airport and there was a coherent plan. Given one other 10 days, we might have gotten nearly everybody out.”

Mr Wallace mentioned in endeavours of the dimensions and logistical issue of Operation Pitting, it was inevitable that there can be some uncertainty over the result.

“We’d achieved a reconnaissance go to some months beforehand besides, when the Paras and 16 Air Assault went down there, they didn’t know what they’d discover,” he mentioned.

British citizens and dual citizenship holders board a military plane at Kabul airport on August 16 last year as part of the Operation Pitting evacuation effort. EPA

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British residents and twin citizenship holders board a navy aircraft at Kabul airport on August 16 final 12 months as a part of the Operation Pitting evacuation effort. EPA

“No one may have predicted such a speedy collapse of the Afghan authorities. Within the aftermath, we didn’t know whether or not the Afghans had been going to show nasty.”

13 US troops and a minimum of 170 Afghans had been killed outdoors Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport on August 26.

It was a tragedy consonant with 20 years of bloodshed on each side. But regardless of acknowledging the occupation led to failure, Mr Wallace mentioned he was pleased with the evacuation effort and subsequent Afghan relocation scheme – a scheme which is costing the UK authorities a million kilos a day, it was revealed on Friday.

“I don’t have regrets. I’m pleased with the Afghan Relocations and Help Coverage ― it’s nonetheless going and can hold going,” he mentioned.

“Extra individuals are arriving right here each week. We stood by our phrase and acquired these folks out. On my watch, we did our highest.”

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