The head of MI5 has warned that Britain could face a ‘spectacular’ attack like 9/11 after the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Ken McCallum said the security service was concerned that terrorists would be able to regroup and plan sophisticated operations targeting the UK.
Yesterday he revealed that MI5 and the police have thwarted 31 ‘late-stage’ plots to attack Britain in the past four years, including six during the pandemic.
Head of MI5 Ken McCallum, pictured, has revealed the security services and police have foiled 31 ‘late-state’ terror plots over the past four years
He said he fears Britain could suffer its own 9/11 attack. It is believed two plots have been foiled in recent weeks
Two of those plots are thought to have been disrupted in recent weeks.
The MI5 director general said the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan had ‘heartened and emboldened’ extremists.
UK could be flooded with heroin after fall of Afghanistan
Britain could be flooded with heroin after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, police leaders fear.
The country creates 82 per cent of the world’s heroin supply.
Donna Jones, serious crime lead at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: ‘I don’t think the increase (in heroin) is hitting Britain’s streets yet but I think it will do over the next six to 12 months… because of British and US forces not being [in Afghanistan] to control and regulate airports and borders.’
Mr McCallum recalled the thwarted 2006 transatlantic airline plot to detonate liquid explosives on seven aircraft taking off from Heathrow, saying plots of that ‘spectacular’ magnitude had been less common due to 20-year effort to combat the terrorist threat from Afghanistan.
He told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of today’s 9/11 anniversary: ‘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 added: ‘There is no doubt that recent events in Afghanistan will have heartened and emboldened some of those extremists, and so being vigilant to precisely those kinds of risks is what my organisation is focused on, along with a range of other threats.’
He said Islamist extremists posed the greatest problem, but a growing number of threats were from far-Right groups.
The former head of the UK armed forces General Lord Richards also raised the prospect of ‘another 9/11’ yesterday, saying ‘ungoverned spaces have opened up’ in Afghanistan which terrorists would be able to ‘exploit’.
And former PM Tony Blair said governments must take action against the Taliban if they again allow the country to become a base for terrorism.
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