‘Everyone was wrong’ on Taliban strategy, says British defense chief

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‘Everyone was wrong’ on Taliban strategy, says British defense chief


Britain’s top military officer, General Sir Nick Carter, responded to suggestions by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that the information was wrong about the strength of the Taliban.

Significant tensions have erupted over the intelligence failures between the Foreign Office and the Defense Department, fueled by comments from Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. In an interview Thursday, Wallace compared his department’s handling of the Afghan crisis to that of Raab’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office.

Raab told MPs that he believed the Afghan capital would remain safe until next year, backed by the assessment of the intelligence in force. Wallace said he first thought “the game was being played” in Afghanistan and that the Western-backed government would retreat “in July.”

Speaking on Sunday, Carter, the chief of the defense staff, said: “It was quite possible that the government could not hold out any longer. Indeed, many reviews suggested that it wouldn’t last all year and, of course, it turned out to be correct. “

Carter said “everyone was wrong” about the Taliban’s strategy. “There’s been a lot of talk about intelligence failure and all that; the point is, and I told you on this show when you interviewed me on July 11, that there are a number of scenarios that could happen and one of them would definitely be a collapse and a fracture. state, ”he told the BBC. The Andrew Marr Show.

“It was the pace that surprised us and I don’t think we really realized what the Taliban was doing. They weren’t really fighting for the cities they eventually captured, they negotiated for them, and I think you’ll find a lot of money changed hands when they managed to buy the ones that could have fought. for them.

Carter also said the Taliban would face their “catastrophic success” and find it difficult to rule the country, adding: “If they behave, they might get help.”

He said: “If the political commission is able to form an inclusive government, it is possible that it governs in a less repressive way – we have to wait and see.

“Right now they are suffering from what we in the military call catastrophic success. They didn’t expect to be in government as quickly as they appeared and the reality is they are trying to find their feet.

“We have to wait and see how it goes and recognize that they are likely to need a little help to run a modern state effectively and if they behave, they might get some help.” “

Approval ratings for Raab have plunged among party members amid damaging stories about his return from vacation to deal with the crisis and a planned reshuffle.

A Conservative Home poll showed Raab dropped 21 places in the firm’s approvals rankings, from third to fourth from the bottom. The site, which regularly polls party members, said the drop was one of the largest on record, similar to Theresa May’s drop in approval ratings after the 2017 election.

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