UK troops could fight Taliban soon as ‘patience won’t last’, ex-colonel says

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A senior ex-army colonel warned there may soon be violence between British soldiers and Taliban fighters as their "patience will only last for a certain time".

Richard Kemp commanded British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and led soldiers in Iraq, gaining the senior rank of colonel in June 2004.

He told the Daily Star that tensions between the Afghan terrorist group and 900 British Army forces leading evacuations out of the country could lead to serious fighting.

Kemp said: "A situation where you've got Taliban fighters and British soldiers in close proximity like that in such a volatile situation could well result in some kind of incident that's not planned, that's not expected but just happens.

"So I think we could see something serious between the two sides.

"Their patience will only last for a certain length of time."

Col Kemp's glittering military career also involved active service in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the Gulf War in the early-90s.

Kemp added the terrorist group's slick rebrand is just a front for the same erratic brutality he witnessed first-hand.

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He said: "The Taliban has not changed or become woke or moderate. The Taliban has become more media-savvy.

"They know the kind of messages that will appeal in the West and that will probably be believed in the West, but I don't believe it myself.

"I think the Taliban has changed in many ways but those ways do not include becoming less brutal, less ruthless or less insistent on the strict imposition of Sharia law which restricts so many freedoms of so many people in Afghanistan.

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"I don't believe a word of it."

Around 900 British soldiers remain in Kabul as part of Operating Pitting, a massive emergency evacuation effort for UK diplomats and Afghan refugees alike.

On Wednesday, The Times estimated there were 3,000 British or dual-nationals awaiting evacuation plus a further 3,000 Afghan interpreters and their families.

It is highly unlikely all of them will make it out of the country.

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Kemp added the Taliban are no longer a ragtag band of rebels – and that the British Army should be wary of any conflict.

He explained: "They know what they're doing, they're well trained.

"They're professional soldiers, they know what to do in this situation and they're doing it.

"[British soldiers] should treat every single potential Taliban fighter and known Taliban fighter with the greatest degree of suspicion and be ready to shoot."

The former colonel and COBRA committee member said he was more fearful about Afghanistan now than when he first arrived as an officer in 2003.

Kemp said: "We have failed to control the Taliban.

"I'm not optimistic we will succeed anymore in the current situation.

"But we should certainly continue to try to prevent the Taliban from allowing jihadists to operate in Afghanistan and to moderate their excesses."

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  • Military
  • British Army

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