Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair warns west that Bio-terrorism now awaits them and that their pull-out from Afghanistan is not the end of terrorism threat. While making a speech at the RUSI security think tank to mark the twentieth anniversary of September 11 attacks on the US on Monday, he claimed that Islamism remains a “first order” security threat for the West. Henceforth, we should prepare for potential use of biological weapons by extremist groups.
Islamism will now give rise to Bio-terrorism
The Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan last month as the United States withdrew its troops after a 20-year war, and Britain fears the group’s return and the vacuum left by the West’s chaotic withdrawal will allow militants from al Qaeda and Islamic State to gain a foothold there.
“Islamism, both the ideology and the violence, is a first order security threat and, unchecked, it will come to us, even if centred far from us, as 9/11 demonstrated,” Blair said in his speech on Monday.
He added that with even with the US pulling out from Afghanistan and after 20 years, the scope of threat emanating from Islamism has changed. So, the west cannot sit back complacently thinking that security threat stemming from Islamism is at the bay. Blair said the West needed to assess its vulnerability and strengthen its defense strategies according to the nature of threat coming from Bio-terrorism.
Non-state actors accessing Bio-terrorism tactics after Covid-19
“COVID-19 has taught us about deadly pathogens. Bio-terror possibilities may seem like the realm of science fiction. But we would be wise now to prepare for their potential use by non-state actors,” he said.
The former prime minister, who sent British troops into Afghanistan in 2001, said with limited appetite for military engagement from the United States, Britain should work more closely with European countries on how best to develop capacity to tackle the threat in areas such as Africa’s Sahel region.
“Counter-terrorism on its own won’t remove an entrenched threat,” he said. “We need some boots on the ground. Naturally our preference is for the boots to be local but that will not always be possible,” he said.