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Iran Press TV

MI6 wants more spies to fill Afghan 'intelligence vacuum'

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:59PM GMT

Britain's intelligence agency MI6 has demanded more spies to be sent to Afghanistan amid concerns that the war-torn country could become an "intelligence vacuum" after British troops' withdrawal.

According to intelligence sources, MI6 has called for reinforcements from other spy services over Whitehall concerns about a terrorist threat from Afghanistan.

Ministers reportedly demanded the British government to hand over the responsibility of securing the country to the Afghan government.

Whitehall sources, however, believe the Afghan forces are not up to the task.

They also fear that the country might become a viable base for terrorist actions as British forces are preparing to leave as part of a NATO pullout by the end of 2014.

A well-placed source also told The Guardian that Britain's intelligent services are already "very stretched" and focused on potential threats from Yemen and Somalia and that the lack of attention on Afghanistan could result in a possible al-Qaeda threat.

The source described Afghanistan as "the weakest link" in Britain's foreign intelligence coverage, saying that the UK will have a big gap in its intelligence capability once the British troops leave Afghanistan.

There are around 8,000 British military personnel in Afghanistan now and the number will fall to 5,200 troops by the end of this year.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism. The invasion removed the Taliban from power, but Afghanistan remains insecure despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led forces there.

The prolonged war, which has caused record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the US history.


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