Afghanistan: Expert on 'possibility' of Taliban takeover
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Speaking to Express.co.uk Simon Diggins, a former British army colonel and defence attaché to Afghanistan raised concerns over the growing power of the Taliban after the US and Britain withdraw all troops from the country by the end of the year. He explained how there is a “possibility” that the Taliban could take control as the Afghan government are left to fight the threat themselves. He said an “easy truce or arrangement” may need to be found between the two rival factions to find a solution.
Speaking about the Taliban, Colonel Diggins said: “I don’t believe that they will take control, I think there is a possibility that they might.
“And even if it is not full control what you might end up with is a situation whereby they have a much more dominant position within the government.”
The colonel continued by saying: “The Afghan government may make some deal with the Taliban which says ‘we will give you local autonomy in your areas, we are also going to give you government positions’.”
He explained how “some kind of easy truce or arrangement” will take place between the Afghan government and the Taliban to seek a solution to the ongoing conflict.
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Colonel Diggins concluded by saying how the “best outcome” of western troops leaving Afghanistan would be to see the Taliban brought into the Afghan government in some form or another.
He said: “What we expect anyway, even the best outcome from this ‘conditions based’ withdrawal, was that there was some way in which the Taliban would be brought into the government.”
But as a result Colonel Diggins went on to explain that with the withdrawal of troops from the region and the rising threat of the Taliban it is “key” the U.K. government will need to “financially support” the Afghan government for many years to come in order for them to be able to defend themselves against the Taliban if solutions can’t be found.
The former Attaché said: “Without the money, you can’t keep the forces in the region… there is no point in putting a deadline on this, it’s for as long as it might take, it could be five, ten or fifteen years.”
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Colonel Diggins who stood as a Labour candidate at the 2015 election explained how the withdrawal of US and British troops from the region came about.
He said: “The feeling I think in America among some of the analysts is the conditions-based approach, which was the approach that had been set up by Donald Trump, which is essentially requiring the Taliban to behave.
“But the conditions could go on for a long time.”
Colonel Diggins believes “strategic patience” has now “run out” among US policymakers who have chosen to end all US troop presence in the country by September 11th, 2021 (9/11) which will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
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The former Attaché added: “But I think what they are really saying is that they are not going to hang around any longer, this (Afghanistan) is unfinished business for President Biden for where he thought the US ought to go.”
Colonel Diggins also raised disagreement with the chosen date of 9/11 which he says “crassly inappropriate.”
He added: “I just can’t believe it, that seems to me that somebody is looking at a matrix and saying what’s a ‘major anniversary that resonates’ and they’ve picked that particular date.”
The USA still have around 3,500 troops on the ground in Afghanistan while the British Army have about 750 personnel who have remained in the country as part of a NATO mission to train the Afghan Army.
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