Ben Wallace shared with BBC Breakfast that it was probable that poverty and terrorism would upsurge in the country. However, he said the UK would have the right to interfere if terror plots against it were planned from Afghanistan.
Mr Wallace accused former US President Donald Trump’s “rotten deal” with the Taliban in 2020 for the withdrawal.
The defence secretary mentioned around 600 troops were being sent to Afghanistan to safeguard the safe return of about 500 Foreign Office and other UK government officials, along with almost 3,000 British citizens working in different roles, like security guards for aid agencies.
He mentioned that about 2,000 Afghan translators and “other people we have an obligation to” would also be conveyed to the UK, linking about 3,000 already taken out of the country.
With the removal facing criticism from former military figures and Tory backbenchers, Mr Wallace disallowed the suggestion that the UK’s 20 years in the area had been a failure.
He mentioned the three million women and girls who had received an education when the Taliban had been moved out of power. “You can’t take away from people that education,” he said.
However, he said he had “concerns” about reports by BBC journalists in Afghanistan of “pretty horrendous things on the ground”, as tens of thousands of people have had to leave their homes and the Taliban is beginning to reassert its hardline rule over its captured cities.
“I think we are heading towards a civil war,” he mentioned, adding that as states fail, both poverty and terrorism rise.
But Mr Wallace mentioned that the UK could act if Afghanistan again started to harbour terrorists who posed an international threat – as it did when it nested a haven to Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda group, accountable for the 11 September attacks killed thousands in New York.
“UK forces retain the capability to defend its citizens” if nations do not take action against terrorists in their midst, he said.
“Under international law we have the right to defend our country against imminent threats.”