By Jon Waller
Lymington Times – 20 August 2021
New Forest East MP Dr Julian Lewis lashed out at US President Joe Biden, calling his justification of the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan flawed. The current chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), Dr Lewis said the decision to pull out was
"ruthless, chaotic and dishonourable".
Even if the West’s aspiration of rebuilding Afghanistan and establishing its brand of democracy was wrong, it had created
"expectations and obligations"
which residents there had expected the West to fulfil, the former Defence Committee chairman added.
Stressing he was speaking in a personal capacity, Dr Lewis advocated a "containment" policy rather than counter-insurgency, adding it
"held the Soviet Union in check throughout the Cold War".
Containment would have seen the West remove its forces after conquering the Taliban but have them return to the country to act if international terrorist groups were again detected.
"That cycle would be repeated until the threat was removed, but we should not and would not allow our forces to be sucked in again,"
"The point is that it has to be flexible, because al-Qaeda itself is very flexible. An active containment policy of this sort can track and match the flexibility of the terrorists.
"Such a policy depends on the maintenance of integrated and highly mobile land forces, positioned in regional strategic base and bridgehead areas."
Dr Lewis added:
"Active containment is the hard-headed solution to an otherwise intractable dilemma: whether to allow terrorists to attack us with impunity or whether to shoulder the unending burden of indefinitely occupying every reckless rogue state that shelters and supports them."
He also said he could not comment on whether the ISC would investigate the British intelligence that was supplied to ministers before the withdrawal decision emerged. Dr Lewis later repeated his preference for the containment policy on the BBC Newsnight programme.