- British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK could be involved in future military ops in Afghanistan.
- Raab added that the UK reserves its right to exercise lawful self-defense, particularly where terrorist groups are concerned.
- He admitted that there were intelligence failings in Afghanistan, but said the blame does not lie solely with the UK.
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UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday that the UK could get involved in future operations in Afghanistan.
Raab said that the UK would not “get ahead of ourselves” but did not rule out the possibility of future military intervention in the region.
“I don’t think it makes sense to speculate about future operation decisions like that,” Raab said in an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“What I would just say is of course, in extremis, we always reserve the right to exercise lawful self-defense, and we would never rule that out, in particular in relation to terror groups,” said Raab, per The Guardian.
British forces were part of an armed military coalition that set out to find the leaders of Al Qaeda after the September 11 attacks. More than 100,000 British soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan in the last 20 years, per the British Army. And over the last two decades, 457 UK armed forces personnel have died whilst on deployment, with 405 people of that number losing their lives in hostile combat.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Raab admitted that there had been intelligence failings in how the crisis in Afghanistan unfolded, saying that the assessment was “clearly wrong.” He also noted that there are British nationals remaining in Afghanistan, with the tally being somewhere “in the low hundreds.”
The last British flight out of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport left on August 28, marking the end of the UK’s campaign in Afghanistan. More than 15,000 people, including 2,200 children, have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14, per the BBC.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that he would “shift heaven and earth” to help the people the UK left behind in Afghanistan to leave Kabul even after August 31 but in a separate interview, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledged that some people wouldn’t be able to get out in time.
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