Iain Duncan Smith hits out at top general's 'peculiar' remark that Taliban could change

22 August 2021, 11:40 | Updated: 22 August 2021, 12:03

Iain Duncan Smith challenged General Carter's comments
Iain Duncan Smith challenged General Carter's comments. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has blasted the suggestion by Britain's top general that the Taliban needed space to govern.

Speaking last week, General Sir Nick Carter told LBC's Nick Ferrari that the group could form a "reasonable, inclusive government".

Those comments ran against widespread fears the Taliban will carry out reprisals on Afghans who helped foreign forces and the previous republic, and impose a strict version of Islamic law that will see women's rights curtailed.

General Carter, the Chief of Defence Staff, said it was too simplistic to paint them as the "bad guy" and added: "It may well be that the outcome is a reasonable, inclusive government.

"The jury is out… I think we need to be able to give them the space to demonstrate their ability."

He went on: "We should see if the leadership can, as it were, talk the talk and walk the walk at the same time and if they can I think we shouldn't rule out being able to at least provide humanitarian aid through their good auspices."

Read more: Head of UK armed forces says too straight forward to paint Taliban as 'bad guys'

Read more: Seven die at Kabul airport amid Afghanistan evacuation chaos

But speaking on Swarbrick on Sunday, Sir Iain told LBC: "I didn't make much of it (the comments), I'll be honest with you.

"I thought it was peculiar – what are we giving the Taliban time to do?"

He said he was helping his constituents get family out and their treatment reflected how the Taliban's fighters can behave.

"I've got a woman we've finally got through who got a punishment beating from the Taliban," he told Tom, claiming the group is trying to weed out those who helped the international forces in their campaign against the militants.

He added: "This is not a leopard that is about to change its spots, it is a brutal, intolerant organisation that's already been carrying out arbitrary executions and punishment beatings.

"I'm not sure what General Carter thinks we need to give them time to prove - I think they've already proven who they are."

General Carter did admit that within the Taliban, some members would behave in a "thoroughly reprehensible fashion".

Sir Iain said the UK needed to ensure it had enough troops to keep the airport secure and get out anyone who helped allied forces.

And, amid worries the US could withdraw by their August 31 deadline, he insisted the Government intervene and should have been "much tougher" with the Biden administration.

"We should be demanding, demanding, that the Americans stop this nonsense of this artificial deadline," he said.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

More strikes are taking place on Saturday

Weekend travel chaos as another day of strikes leaves just a fifth of train network running

Mr Gove has backed Mr Sunak

Michael Gove backs Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership race - as he says Truss campaign has taken 'holiday from reality'

Boulter bit the PD Xander on the head

Man bites police dog on the head after lashing out at officer during arrest

Sanna Marin said she has taken a drug test

Finnish PM takes drug test as new video of her partying emerges

Alamy/Handout

Isis 'Beatle' from London jailed for life in US for role in hostage taking and beheading plot

Sir Alex was in court on Friday

'I never saw Giggs lose temper' Man Utd's legendary ex-manager Sir Alex Ferguson tells trial

Keeping Up Appearances actress Josephine Tewson has died

Keeping Up Appearances star Josephine Tewson dies aged 91

The Environment Agency has issued 'do not swim' orders for 22 beaches in England amid fears sewage discharged from rainwater overflows may have polluted the waters.

'Do not swim' at 22 beaches in England after sewage discharge, Environment Agency warns

Ryan Giggs told his PR executive girlfriend Kate Greville she was "the jam in my donut"

‘Jam in my donut’: Court hears more of Ryan Giggs’ poetry and text exchanges with his ex

A man has appeared at the Old Bailey (right) accused of stabbing a man in a restaurant on London's Poland Street

Chef, 60, ‘stabbed worker to death in Soho Korean restaurant after row about food prep’

Thomas Nutt, 46, killed Dawn Walker hours after their wedding, storing her body in a cupboard before putting it in a suitcase and dumping it in bushes behind their home in Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe, near Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Killer husband who murdered wife on wedding night and hid body in suitcase jailed for life

Brits are scrambling to update their Apple devices after a major security flaw was found

Millions told to update Apple tech 'right now' after major security issue leaves devices vulnerable to hackers

klajeflakjf

NHS warns surging energy bills could cause 'humanitarian crisis' this winter

There are warnings the cost of a pint could reach as high as £14 in London in years to come

Price of pint in London could reach £14 and takeaway coffee nearly a fiver in coming years, research suggests

Exclusive
Melvin Terry waited for 27 hours in A&E before being sent home

Hospital apologises after grandfather, 76, spent 27 hours waiting for A&E bed before being sent home

The girl was allegedly abducted from Warne Avenue, Droylsden

Man, 23, arrested on suspicion of abduction and sexual assault of girl, 6, in Droylsden