British Muslims fighting British troops in Afghanistan: report

August 2nd, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban

London, Aug 2 (IANS) British Muslims are part of the Taliban force fighting against the country’s troops deployed under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, a British General said in an interview with a newspaper published Saturday. General Ed Butler, a former commander of Britain’s force in Afghanistan, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph Saturday as saying that British forces “have uncovered evidence that British Muslims are actively supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan”.

“There are British passport holders who live in Britain, who are being found in places like Kandahar,” said Butler, a former head of the Special Air Service (SAS) troops in Afghanistan.

Fearing the possibility of terrorist activity being hatched against Britain in Afghanistan, he said: “There is a link between Kandahar and urban conurbations in the UK”.

It was revealed earlier this year that RAF Nimrod spy planes monitoring Taliban radio signals in the war-ravaged country had intercepted militants speaking among themselves with Yorkshire and Midlands accents.

According to the newspaper, British intelligence is aware of the radical British Muslims participating in the Afghan conflict. The officials have also warned that the West faces a “long haul” in Afghanistan.

Butler, widely regarded as one of the best British officers of his generation, also recommended the long stay of British forces in southern Afghanistan despite the heavy casualties because of the continued presence of the radical British Muslims in the region.

“This is a highly significant mission. If we do not win against the protagonists of the Sep 11 attacks then those who are against us will take great succour from it,” he told the newspaper.

In 2006, when British forces deployed to Helmand province, Butler had warned the government that there was a strong possibility that British soldiers would end up killing Muslims who held British passports and were fighting with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Butler has announced his decision to retire from the Army earlier this year, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

He is currently Commander of Joint Force Operations based at Northwood, near London, and will formally leave the Army next year.

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