MI5 Chief Warns of a 9/11-Style Terror Attack in Britain After Biden’s Afghanistan Fiasco

British police officers stand near Elizabeth Tower (commonly known as Big Ben) at the Hous
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Britain’s top domestic spy chief has warned that the UK may face a terror attack along the lines of 9/11 in the wake of President Biden’s failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The director-general of the Security Service (MI5), Ken McCallum said spy agencies in Britain are increasingly concerned about the prospect of renewed attempts by Islamists to launch terror attacks within the UK.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks in American, McCallum said: “The big concern flowing from Afghanistan, alongside the immediate inspirational effect, is the risk that terrorists reconstitute and once again pose us more in the way of well developed, sophisticated plots of the sort that we faced in 9/11 and the years thereafter.

“There is no doubt that recent events in Afghanistan will have heartened and emboldened some of those extremists, and so being vigilant to precisely those kinds of risks is what my organisation is focused on, along with a range of other threats.”

“We do face a consistent global struggle to defeat extremism and to guard against terrorism — this is a real problem. In the last four years, working with the police, my organisation has disrupted 31 late-stage attack plots in Great Britain,” McCallum revealed.

“Even during the pandemic period which we have all been enduring for the past two years, we have had to disrupt six late-stage attack plots,” he said, adding: “So, the terrorist threat to the UK, I am sorry to say, is a real and enduring thing.”

The warnings from the MI5 chief comes after the former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, warned that Britain is facing “the greatest danger from terrorism since Islamic State at its height”.

Britain’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey also admitted that jihadis are currently “trying to take advantage” of the collapse of Afghanistan to enter into the United Kingdom.

The terror threat emerging from Afghanistan may be compounded by the fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced that some of those claiming to be fleeing from the Taliban and seeking asylum in the United Kingdom will not be required to provide proof of identity, such as presenting passports.

British Border Force has admitted that they have already allowed in people from Afghanistan despite them presenting forged papers or none at all.

While there may be increased threats from Islamist cells abroad, Britain is already facing massive problems with terrorism at home. Last year, it was reported that security services were aware of at least 43,000 terror suspects in the country, around twice as many previously disclosed to the public.

The MI5 chief said that his agency, alongside local police, have foiled 31 “late-stage” terror attacks in Britain over the past four years, including six since the start of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

The former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Lord Richards, agreed with Mr McCallum’s assessment of increased threats in the wake of the fall of Afghanistan, telling LBC Radio that he believes Mr Biden’s botched withdrawal has brought the world closer to “another 9/11”.

“I fear the Taliban and some extremist jihadist groups are, whatever they like to say, in each other’s pockets,” he said.

“Scores will be settled, debts will have to be repaid and there will be ungoverned space opened up in Afghanistan which those groups will exploit and the ability of the Taliban to actually manage them will be minimal,” he added.

“It is ironic that President Biden evacuated American and other forces with the purpose of timing it with the 20th anniversary and yet as a result of that decision we are pitched back into an era that could be even worse than the ’90s and 2000s that led to 9/11.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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