British men fighting for Taliban as it mounts offensive: Report

British men have taken up arms against the Afghan government, “intermittent intelligence” shows, according to a security personnel. 
The British men travelled to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s tribal areas to reach the frontlines. (AP File Photo)
The British men travelled to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s tribal areas to reach the frontlines. (AP File Photo)
Published on Aug 13, 2021 08:49 AM IST
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By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

British jihadis secretly went to Afghanistan and have joined the Taliban as the group has taken over most of the country, including the second-largest city of Kandahar, a report has said. The Sun cited a senior military intelligence official as saying they have intercepted phone calls of terrorists with British accents. "We have received some intercepts of two British men, probably below 30, talking openly on mobiles," the official was quoted as saying by The Sun.

The Taliban captured Kandahar, the country's second-largest city, on Friday in what is one of the group's biggest military victories since it began the offensive in May.

Another unnamed security personnel said there was “intermittent intelligence” showing British men had taken up arms against the Afghan government. “We have no idea who they are. It’s difficult to put a number on it,” the official told The Sun.

Also read | Taliban claim to capture Afghanistan's second-largest city of Kandahar: Reports

According to The Sun, security officials believe that the British men travelled to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s tribal areas to reach the frontlines. Days ago, Taliban commander General Mubeen was heard talking in a Facebook video about attending Birmingham University.

“Many British and other foreign jihadists travelled to Afghanistan before and after 9/11 to fight there and, in many cases train, organise and then travel elsewhere for jihad,” former colonel Richard Kemp, who led UK forces in Afghanistan, told The Sun. “The more gains the Taliban makes, the more it will encourage jihadists to carry out attacks at home and also head for Afghanistan," he said,

"If the country, or a large part of it, is permanently controlled by the Taliban it will again become a safe haven for terrorists as it was before 9/11. We are on the verge of a threat no less than that from IS at its height.”

Also read | UNSC mulling over draft statement condemning Taliban offensive: Report

It came as Britain said it would deploy around 600 troops to Afghanistan to help its citizens and interpreters and other Afghan staff leave Afghanistan. The UK defence ministry said in a statement the troops will provide protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals where required. Around 4,000 British nationals are believed to be in Afghanistan.

The US has also said that it is sending an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation of some personnel from the USe embassy in Kabul.

The Taliban captured Kandahar along with more key regional cities as US military intelligence assessment suggested Kabul could come under Taliban within 30 days. It also said that the group could gain full control of the country within a few months. Most of the country is now under the Taliban's control. Foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by August end 20 years after they arrived in the country following the 9/11 attacks.

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