MI5 warns Taliban has ’emboldened’ terrorists for 9/11-type attacks

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MI5 warns Taliban has 'emboldened' terrorists for 9/11-type attacks

The UK’s intelligence agency, MI5, has warned the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan may have “emboldened” terrorists to carry out future 9/11-type attacks.

Ken McCallum, the head of MI5, told the BBC on Friday that “we need to be vigilant” because the terrorism threat is “a real and enduring thing.”

“Overnight you can have a psychological boost or morale boost to extremists already here, or in other countries,” McCallum said of the Taliban resurgence last month.

“There is no doubt that recent events in Afghanistan will have heartened and emboldened some of those extremists.

“So being vigilant to precisely those kinds of risks is what my organization is focused on, along with, along with a range of other threats.”

Despite the Taliban claiming they won’t let Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists plotting against the west, McCallum warned the withdrawal of troops could now give extremists a base to operate as they did in the lead up to 9/11.

Afghan painters paint the Taliban slogan at the front of the US Embassy which is now in possession of the Taliban
The last major terror attack in the UK was in 2017.
Jake Simkin

“The big concern flowing from Afghanistan, alongside the immediate inspirational effect, is the risk that terrorists reconstitute and once again pose us more in the way of well developed, sophisticated plots of the sort that we faced in 9/11 and the years thereafter,” he said.

McCallum said British intelligence had disrupted 31 late-stage plots against the country in the last four years.

The last major terror attack in the UK was in 2017 when a bomber targeted the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and knife-wielding men attacked two bridges in London.

“We do face a consistent global struggle to defeat extremism and to guard against terrorism,” he said.

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