The British Empire tried to conquer Afghanistan several times during the 19th century. But the United States have been the dominant foreign power in the country since the invasion of 2001.
The head of the British armed forces has criticised US President Joe Biden’s decision to pull the remaining 2,500 US troops out of Afghanistan by September.
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, said he believed it could turn out to be a mistake.
General Carter told the BBC: “We went into Afghanistan back in 2001 to prevent international terrorism ever emerging from Afghanistan. In the last 20 years there has been no international terrorist attack mounted from Afghanistan. I think that is a great tribute to our armed forces and of course to the armed forces of the Nato countries that have been committed to this.”
He said President’s Biden decision to start pulling out the US contingent by 1 May was “not a decision we hoped for” although NATO subsequently agreed to withdraw all its troops.
Britain currently has 750 military personnel in Afghanistan, mainly involved in training the Afghan government forces.
General Carter said of Biden’s decision: “It is not a decision that we hoped for but we obviously respect it. It is clearly an acknowledgement of an evolving US strategic posture.
He added that he had a “great deal of pride” at the British Army’s role in Afghanistan since it went in after 9/11.