Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Coult, who was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in Iraq, shared his devastation following the chaotic withdrawal of western troops from Afghanistan. The brave veteran, who during his service completed 10 operational deployments with the British Army in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, went on to stress how the withdrawal is so much more devastating given the decades of extensive intelligence gathering, investment and work in Afghan communities by the Armed Forces including a complex deployment of a biometric system which was vital in understanding Taliban networks.
Mr Coult MC said: “Basically we have spent $3trillion, 20-years, four presidents to replace the Taliban with the Taliban. That is what’s happened.”
The Royal Irish Regiment veteran then went on to explain the level of engagement and investment the British Army had in Afghanistan, well beyond just the physical presence in the country, which he noted as a reason as to why the chaotic withdrawal from the region stings so much more.
He described how the biometric system which the coalition deployed in Afghanistan in order to register, what he claimed was over a million Afghan males, was an example of the enormous financial efforts the coalition went to bringing peace to Afghanistan and haul it into the 21st century.
Mr Coult detailed how this data gathered was then used to identify DNA found on IED’s which would, if registered in the biometric system, help track down who was behind the devastating explosive devices.
Mr Coult explained: “The whole idea behind that was to send out UK SF (Special Forces), do a raid, arrest a couple of Taliban, bring them back and we would exploit them over a period of 28-days.”
The Military Cross winner explained through this process the British Army adopted a strategy by which a network of Taliban fighters could be identified, arrested, questioned and then released in order to gain a better understanding of how the group worked and operated.
What’s more, he said that as they brought fighters in, the Brits would “feed them, reclothe them and give them a new prayer mat” and even allowed them to speak to their families.
He stressed: “The whole idea behind this was to get the Taliban who had been captured, to spread the news amongst the Taliban that the British aren’t that bad.”
But the veteran stressed how this is just one example of all of the work, effort, money and progress made by British Armed forces in Afghanistan that has now been cruelly thrown away following the disastrous withdrawal from the country which he branded as “disgusting” and a “complete shambles”.
Mr Coult’s comments come as August 31 saw the final US troops leave Afghan soil after a 20-year intervention in the country, almost immediately after the Taliban were pictured firing their weapons in celebration at their victory.
While in a rambling live speech on Tuesday following the withdrawal, US President Joe Biden made a series of claims including one bizarre analogy between Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden, and Yemen which sparked a ferocious backlash online.
Mr Biden said: “I respectfully suggest you ask yourself this question: if we had been attacked on September 11, 2001 from Yemen instead of Afghanistan – would we have ever gone to war in Afghanistan?”
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The veteran has been involved in 178 engagements with enemy forces and astonishingly survived 3 IED explosions during a career spanning 20-years of operational deployments in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Trevor was a patron of the military charity “Veterans in Action” from 2009 until 2019 and now works with charity ‘PTSD Resolution’ to assist veterans suffering from the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Forbes magazine estimate that in the 20-years since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan which is $300 million dollars per day, every day, for two decades.