'British troops must return to Afghanistan,' Tobais Ellwood says

5 August 2021, 08:57 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 09:19

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Conservative MP and chairman of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood has called for Western troops to return to Afghanistan.

Mr Ellwood warned there was a "civil war" unfolding in the nation with the "West very much to blame."

He said the country was being handed "back to the very insurgency we went in there to defeat."

The Tory MP, who served three tours of Afghanistan, added: "We need a different approach if we want to help Afghanistan, if we don't there will be full-scale civil war. And we will have blood on our hands."

The withdrawal, which came after President Joe Biden’s decision to bring US troops home, is already having dramatic consequences for the region, which Mr Ellwood said "was made for political reasons."

The conversation comes after the head of the UK's armed forces warned Afghanistan becoming a failed state is "one of the scenarios that could occur" unless government forces can resist the Taliban.

General Sir Nick Carter said the Afghan forces had to reach a military stalemate with the Taliban, at which point peace talks could occur.

In the weeks since the last British troops pulled out, the Taliban has made huge territorial and strategic gains, putting the lives of former British interpreters in even greater jeopardy.

Labour warned around two-thirds of Afghans who supported British forces during the country's involvement in Afghanistan could still be unaccounted for and under threat.

Shadow armed forces minister Stephen Morgan accused the Government of "failing locally employed Afghan staff who bravely risked their lives to support our forces".

There has been intense fighting for Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, as the Taliban seeks to gain a major city rather than maintain its presence in largely rural areas.

Afghan government forces responded with air strikes, backed by the US, in a desperate effort to defend the city.

The fall of Lashkar Gah would be a major turning point in the offensive the Taliban have waged over the recent months as US and Nato forces complete their pullout from the war-torn country.

Helmand province was the location for some of the fiercest fighting involving British troops during the Afghanistan war, with Lashkar Gah the site of a major military base.