Britain is now facing the immediate threat of a terror attack with the possibility of future threats on the same horrifying scale as the 9/11 atrocity on the US in 2001, experts fear.
The leader of the resistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan has warned his country will become the “ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism”.
Sandhurst-educated Ahmad Masood, commander of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, told The Mirror: “The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone.
“Plots against democracies will be hatched here once again.”
From his mountain hideout north of Kabul, he said his fighters desperately needed support from the West.
He added: “There is still much you can do to aid the cause of freedom – you are our only remaining hope.”
Counter terror officers have feared a Taliban takeover for months, knowing it would give al-Qaeda back the “ungoverned spaces” in the deserts and mountains, the terror training grounds where Osama bin Laden plotted his 9/11 attacks.
Chilling warnings have come from military chiefs, an ex-MI5 boss, intelligence experts and security officials, who fear the UK will face atrocities like the 2013 murder of soldier Lee Rigby, killed by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Former MI5 boss Lord Jonathan Evans said: “If they get the opportunity to put down infrastructure to train and to operate then that will pose a threat to the West.
“There’s also the psychological effect of the inspiration that some people will draw from the failure of Western power in Afghanistan.
"In practical terms and in terms of ungoverned space, but also in psychological terms, it probably means an increase in threat over the coming months and years.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the Mirror an attack of the size of 9/11 is possible in the UK.
“If they cannot get the US, the UK remains a large target," he said. "Freedom in Afghanistan, as we have seen with 9/11, will give them time and help to plan such an attack.”
“We face the danger of an attack right now from jihadists already here who are inspired by what they have witnessed of the Taliban victory in Afghanistan."
Col Kemp fears the bond between the Taliban and al-Qaeda may have strengthened in the past 20 years.
He said they have become "close comrades" and have "similar doctrines and religious beliefs".
It could lead, he claimed, to a "far greater threat from al-Qaeda Mark II", which will prove to be a "bigger danger" to British citizens.
One expert said: “There is a long-term and spectacular threat to the UK of another 9/11.
“Would be jihadists who are inspired by what has happened may wish to harm British citizens right now – and it would be because of what has happened in Afghanistan.”
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