The former head of the British intelligence agency MI6 on Tuesday said the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan will "inspire" terrorists to attack Western nations, according to the Daily Mail.
Sir John Sawers, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service from 2009 to 2014, said there is "no doubt" that extreme Islamist groups "celebrated" the United States' withdrawal and that it "raises the risk of them being inspired to more violence in Western countries." He added that Biden's decision also left the United States, United Kingdom, and NATO allies in a "much weaker position," as terrorist groups will now be given "some operating space" in Afghanistan.
The remarks come as U.K. and U.S. citizens as well as their Afghan allies still remain trapped in Afghanistan. The Guardian reported Monday that Labour MPs are scrambling to evacuate more than 7,000 British constituents and family members left behind. A State Department official also confirmed about 250 U.S. citizens remain.
Former U.K. defense staff chief Lord David Richards, who served in Afghanistan, echoed Sawers's remarks, calling the withdrawal a "defeat" for the West.
Biden is expected to address the public on the withdrawal this afternoon.