London, Aug 2 : A former commander of Britain's forces in Afghanistan has reportedly said that British Muslims were helping the Taliban in their war against UK soldiers in southern Afghanistan.
Brig. Ed Butler, who spent six months commanding British forces in Afghanistan, also revealed fears that militant Islamic groups in south-east Asia were supporting terrorist plots in the UK.
Brig Butler (46) said he had seen evidence that terror groups based in southern Afghanistan were plotting with Muslim extremists in Britain to carry out terror attacks in the UK. "There is a link between Kandahar and urban conurbations in the UK. This is something the military understands but the British public does not," said Brig. Butler.
Brig Butler believes that the continued presence of radical British Muslims in southern Afghanistan was one of the reasons why British forces must remain in the region, despite the heavy number of battlefield fatalities. "This is a highly significant mission. If we do not win against the protagonists of the September 11 attacks then those who are against us will take great succour from it," The Telegraph quoted him as saying in an exclusive interview.
Earlier this year, on Taliban radio signals militants were heard speaking in Yorkshire and Midlands accents, said the paper.
The brigadier, a former head of the SAS, said that UK forces had uncovered evidence that British Muslims were actively supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, said the paper.
He further said that the UK forces had uncovered evidence that British Muslims were actively supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. "There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar," he added.
According to the paper, British officers in Afghanistan privately estimate that several thousand Taliban fighters had been killed since 2006, among whom many were from outside the country. "While my troops have not actually found British passports on enemy dead there has been a suspicion that with the high number of Taliban casualties they have needed to recruit a lot of foreign fighters and some of these are likely to be of British-Muslim descent," the paper quoted an unidentified British officer as saying.
Meanwhile, Western intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned that Afghanistan and its lawless border with Pakistan were now home to many training camps used by Jihadi groups to prepare radicals for attacks in the West. A Whitehall source confirmed that the security services were aware of some radicalized British Muslims returning to the UK from Afghanstan. "There are very small numbers of British citizens traveling out there, being trained up and then returning to the UK," said the source.
Even as Al Qaeda is widely losing ground in Iraq, Afghanistan is emerging as the focus for radicalised Western Muslims wanting to fight Western forces, say British counter-terrorism officials.