britain faces twin threat from jihadis and autocratic states after taliban triumph, warns general

© AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened Islamist groups, warns general

- AFP via Getty

Britain is facing the twin spectres of atrocities carried out by jihadis, who have been emboldened by the triumph of the Taliban, and hostile states seeking to suppress freedom on a scale not seen since the 1930s, a senior military officer has warned.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has given Islamist groups around the world greater confidence, resulting in terrorist attacks being more likely, while giving a boost to political Islam, said General Sir Patrick Sanders.

At the same time, he continued, authoritarian regimes in countries like Russia and China are seeking to subvert and challenge the international rules-based order using strategies that have the same effect as a modern day “blitzkrieg”.

Gen Sanders, the chief of Strategic Command, said that the “outcome in Afghanistan may not be the one we were seeking” but “we made a difference while we were there”. The need now, he said, was to adjust to what had happened and act accordingly.

Speaking at the DSEI ( Defence and Security Equipment International) conference in London, Gen Sanders said it was imperative to focus on the threats Britain faces in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain time.

“The threat isn’t diminishing. In fact, the security outlook is more perilous than it was 2 years ago,” he said.

“We are now facing the twin spectre of emboldened jihadi terrorists and something not seen since the 1930s – a growing authoritarian zeitgeist that celebrates the suppression of political and individual freedom as a better way to govern.

“This ideology is intersecting with geopolitics, and driving great power competition, as these autocratic regimes subvert and challenge the international order and adopt bold risk-taking strategies.”

Gen Sanders continued: “What links these authoritarian regimes – let’s name them: Russia and China – are two things.” First, he said, was a drive to achieve victory without fighting by using political warfare, and the second was a desire to expand warfare into the domains of space and the cyber world.

The adversaries, said Gen Sanders, are following “an approach to modernisation that pursues the exploitation of disruptive information-age technologies, and allying that with winning operational concepts that seek to have the same impact as blitzkrieg. It is nothing less than a race for advantage in the defining technologies of the future.”

“Under its ‘Made in China 2025’ strategy, China has openly and explicitly declared the ambition to dominate these technology frontiers,” said Gen Sanders.

britain faces twin threat from jihadis and autocratic states after taliban triumph, warns general

© Provided by The Independent Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in 2019 (Getty)

This includes artificial intelligence, advanced computing, quantum technologies, robotics, autonomous systems and commercial space technologies, along with new generations of mobile telecommunications.

“China’s PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has concluded that the centre of gravity in military operations has shifted from concentration of forces to information systems,” said Gen Sanders. “They look to dominate a system of systems confrontation, creating new operating concepts: cross-domain, autonomous swarms and precision attacks to achieve persistent paralysis.”

The UK needs to take a more forward posture to counter this, said Gen Sanders.

“Let’s step up the pressure. We need to be prepared to conduct ‘precision soft strike’. Sometimes this will be avowed, to deter; sometimes not,” he said.

“We may wish to target adversarial media campaigns, as we have in the past, or disrupt – even neutralise – military systems, such as a supply chain. These activities take potentially years to plan, so we need to think ahead, [and] ensure that they are nested within enduring campaigns.”

Failure to counter the new technology offensive of adversaries would have consequences, said Gen Sanders.

“The risks are clear: it is a recurring pattern of great power behaviour that interests expand with power, that the appetite grows with the eating, and risk-taking increases the potential for escalation and miscalculation, unless this behaviour is challenged and contained,” he said.

“We will find ourselves in a world where the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must,” he added.

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Latest breaking 24h news around the world Latest breaking 24h news around the world - Page 2 Latest breaking 24h news around the world - Page 3


LATEST NEWS

NEWS RELATED

Cold War bombers, interceptors and more at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum

© Provided by CNET Geoffrey Morrison/CNET Nestled among the verdant, rolling hills of western South Dakota, adjacent to historic Ellsworth Air Force Base, is the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. Focusing on aircraft from the early Cold War to the present day, there’s everything from an enormous B-52 bomber…

Read more: Cold War bombers, interceptors and more at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum

Apple Watch 7 upgrade: What to know about trading in your old watch to get the best deal

© Provided by CNET Apple introduced its new Series 7 lineup this week, but it won’t come until “this fall.” Apple Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 7, a new iPad model, and the iPhone 13 lineup at its virtual product launch event on Tuesday. The new Apple Watch will arrive…

Read more: Apple Watch 7 upgrade: What to know about trading in your old watch to get the best deal

9 great reads from CNET this week: iPhone 13, SpaceX, moonshine and more

© Apple Meet the new phone, pretty same as the old phone. When Apple unveils a new iPhone, the world takes notice — even if it’s only a slightly buffer version of the iPhone that preceded it. This week, we met the iPhone 13, whose big claim to fame sounds…

Read more: 9 great reads from CNET this week: iPhone 13, SpaceX, moonshine and more

Cyber security is hot... here's the top M&A deals so far in 2021

The cyber security market is hot, and vendors are buying competitors to solidify their position or acquiring other firms to expand their offerings.

Read more: Cyber security is hot... here's the top M&A deals so far in 2021

OnePlus 9 series gets XPan mode to shoot Hasselblad camera-like pictures

© Provided by The Indian Express OnePlus is releasing a new XPan feature via an OTA update for its OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 smartphones. The company has worked with Hasselblad to bring the new feature to its latest phones. The brand new camera mode has been developed to…

Read more: OnePlus 9 series gets XPan mode to shoot Hasselblad camera-like pictures

Antitrust Probe Finds Google Abused Android Dominance In India: Report

© Provided by News18 Antitrust Probe Finds Google Abused Android Dominance In India: Report Google abused the dominant position of its Android operating system in India, using its “huge financial muscle” to illegally hurt competitors, the country’s antitrust authority found in a report on its two-year probe seen by Reuters.…

Read more: Antitrust Probe Finds Google Abused Android Dominance In India: Report

The rise of tablets: Does the market need laptops or phones anymore?

We may want them, but we don’t actually need them. Here’s why tablets can replace everything now.

Read more: The rise of tablets: Does the market need laptops or phones anymore?

HP CISO Joanna Burkey: Securing remote workers requires collaborative approach

New research finds 91 per cent of IT teams feel pressure to compromise cyber security for WFH business continuity.

Read more: HP CISO Joanna Burkey: Securing remote workers requires collaborative approach

Which restaurants require COVID vaccination proof? The Yelp app can tell you

Would you buy a laptop from Jennifer Aniston? Inside Apple's product placement machine

Best Nintendo Switch Screen Protectors 2021: Protect Your Console From Impacts, Scratches

HP Sold Most PCs In India In Q2 2021, Samsung Records Massive 134% Growth: Canalys

Apple iPhone 12 Series gets massive price cut on Amazon, Flipkart: Check prices here

Apple iPhone 13: All the missing features we didn't get

It's easy to mirror or cast your Android phone to your TV. Here's how

The ultimate T-Mobile iPhone 13 Pro Max hack could get you Apple's highest-end phone for free

OTHER NEWS