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1 Sep, 2021 16:37

British military needs to operate without US, says Raab, after Washington’s Afghan withdrawal revealed continuing reliance

British military needs to operate without US, says Raab, after Washington’s Afghan withdrawal revealed continuing reliance

The UK needs to re-evaluate its military capabilities and even develop its own further as the US withdrawal highlighted London’s reliance on the American military to operate effectively, the British foreign minister has said.

Speaking to the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the US will remain the country’s closest ally, but recent events have highlighted that the UK is not prepared to go it alone. 

Raab told MPs that, when the US announced it would be withdrawing from Afghanistan, there was no viable coalition left for British forces. He noted that there was very little appetite among NATO leaders after the US evacuation plan became clear. 

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The foreign secretary said the events had highlighted Britain’s need to reassess its military capacity in light of its apparent reliance on the US.

“We need to look at our own capabilities,” Raab stated, adding that “one of the things we talked about was the importance and ability to operate in a more agile way. This is already part of the strategic analysis.”

Raab also indicated that he was unsure of the number of Britons who remain in Afghanistan after UK troops finished the evacuation missions, but said they have sought and received direct assurance that they will have safe passage out of the country. 

The foreign secretary insisted that the majority had now left the country, adding that the British government’s efforts would now be focused on “the documents required” for people to cross land borders out of Afghanistan.

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