United Kingdom ready for air strikes to target the Islamic State in Afghanistan

United Kingdom ready for air strikes to target the Islamic State in Afghanistan

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston has indicated that the Royal Air Force could strike Islamic State targets in Afghanistan.

The head of the Royal Air Force told The Telegraph that the UK could be involved in strikes against Islamic State.

“Ultimately what this boils down to is that we’ve got to be able to play a global role in the global coalition to defeat Daesh, whether it’s strike, or whether it’s moving troops or equipment into a particular country, at scale and at speed,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“If there’s an opportunity for us to contribute I am in no doubt that we will be ready to – that will be anywhere where violent extremism raises its head, and is a direct or indirect threat to the UK and our allies. Afghanistan is probably one of the most inaccessible parts of the world, and we’re able to operate there.”

Asked about Sir Mike’s comments, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News here that he would “not comment any more on operational details”.

But added: “Of course, in extremis, the UK retains the right to exercise self-defence and that must include in relation to terrorist groups operating from abroad.”

Mr Raab also reportedly said there was a “need to see the Taliban live up to the explicit commitment that they’ve given not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven, let alone a base for terrorist attacks”.

The UK, US and other allies have now withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Operation Pitting was the British military operation to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country.

In the end, 13,708 eligible Afghans and British nationals were successfully evacuated in 100 flights but 800–1,100 eligible Afghans and 100–150 British nationals were left behind.

With 100 flights, the effort was the largest British evacuation since the Second World War and largest airlift since the Berlin Blockade of 1948-9.

Source: UK Defence Journal