‘This isn’t over!’ Afghanistan withdrawal could signal US-China conflict, says MP

Afghanistan: Johnson addresses numbers still left to evacuate

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The warning follows one of the largest military airlifts in history, which saw a chaotic US exit from Kabul on August 31. Speaking to a seminar led by the Policy Exchange think tank, Tom Tungendhat MP claimed China views the US withdrawal in the failed state as “weakness”.

He said: “There is a possibility that China reads this weakness and decides that this is now, therefore, the moment at which it can flex its muscles.

“And the US, feeling that otherwise it will look weak, will feel that it has to respond.”

“There is also of course the possibility that the US, feeling that it has to demonstrate that this isn’t a moment of weakness, will seek to invest greater efforts into alliances, which China will read as aggression.”

He added: “So this is one of those moments where it’s not the balance of power that triggers conflict, it is the imbalance of power.

“It’s the moment when parties have a different perception of each other’s strengths and weaknesses that conflict is likely to arise, and at a moment like this, there is the strong possibility that that’s exactly what we’re going to see.”

Mr Tungendhat’s warning follows as China made the decision to keep their embassy open in Afghanistan.

The August 31 deadline for the troop withdrawal saw the US abandon the country after 20 years of military intervention in the region.

However, between 100 and 200 Americans and thousands of America’s Afghan allies now face an uncertain future in Afghanistan.

Mr Tugendhat, who is also Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, also said it was “absolutely predictable” the Taliban victory would result in the rise of terrorism in countries such as the UK.

Tom Tugendhat is a veteran of the Iraq War and Afghanistan and has repeatedly stressed the war in Afghanistan is far from over.

He said: “This isn’t over.

“This is only the beginning of a new stage of chaos.”

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“Whenever you have an Islamist extremist movement owning a piece of territory – whether it’s a nation state or whether it’s only a partial piece of one – we know what follows.

“It’s absolutely predictable we end up with a violent extremist terrorist group harboured there exporting violence, and some of that violence comes to us.

“I see absolutely no reason to expect that what we’re going to see out of Afghanistan is going to be different.”

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