UK Defence Sec Defends Top General Claiming Taliban 'Want an Afghanistan Inclusive for All'

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Britain’s Defence Secretary has defended General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, after he claimed that the Taliban are honourable “country boys” who “want an Afghanistan that is inclusive for all”.

Carter, the professional head of the British armed forces, put himself in front of the media on August 18th to suggest that the Taliban, responsible for the lion’s share of the 457 fatalities and 616 “serious or very serious casualties” among British military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan, should not necessarily be described as the “enemy”.

“I think people need to understand what the Taliban actually are,” Carter told Kay Burley, a leading anchor for Comcast’s Sky News.

“And of course, what they actually are are a disparate collection of tribespeople… they’re country boys,” he said of the Islamic fundamentalists.

“And the plain fact is that they happen to live by a code of honour and a standard which had been their standard for many, many years; it’s called Pashtunwali, it has honour at the heart of what they do,” the officer gushed, heedless of the Taliban’s long and continuing history of hostage-taking, massacring prisoners, use of child suicide bombers, and insider attacks, including on British and American personnel.

The Taliban, Carter went on, are “bound together by a common purpose, which is they don’t like corrupt governance, they don’t like governance that is self-service,” he claimed, before making the remarkable claim that “they want an Afghanistan that is inclusive for all.”

While neither the establishment left and right-leaning media in Britain are generally keen to criticise serving members of the military, this stunning claim provoked even Burley to incredulity, asking, “We can’t support the way that they treat women? Surely?”

Carter stuck to his guns, however, insisting at length that the Taliban “have changed” and that they “recognise the fundamental role that woman have played” in Afghanistan having evolved, and even that they would not necessarily exclude women from playing a role in governing their Islamic emirate — this despite video of Taliban fighters laughing in the face of a Western reporter who asked if they would allow people to vote for female politicians having gone viral in recent days.

The British general attempts to sell the Taliban as an honourable, inclusive organisation — proved bogus by historic actions such as their demolition of ancient Buddhist monuments as “idols” in 2001 and contemporary actions such as their murder of women who refuse to slave for their fighters in the territory they have captured — even saw former BBC interrogator-in-chief turned GB News supremo Andrew Neil accuse him of having joined the “Taliban PR team”.

Ben Wallace MP, the Secretary of State for Defence who extended Carter’s tenure as Chief of the Defence Staff earlier this year, has chosen to defend him, however, insisting: “Of course I am defending him. Nick Carter knows more than I will ever know about Afghanistan and the Taliban and more than most people. He is a deeply experienced general.”

The Conservative politician added that “When [Carter] says things, we should listen and we should value it. He is my adviser, he is the Prime Minister’s adviser, and he is absolutely right in some of his observations”.

Whether or not the general’s advice played a role in Prime Minister Johnson telling Parliament, entirely wrongly, that “there is no military path to victory for the Taliban” in July is unclear.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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