The return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan is awful and shocking. It is particularly dangerous and traumatic for the women and girls in Afghanistan who are now in severe danger. It was right that Parliament was recalled to debate this utter failure of Government foreign policy and this morning I was in the House of Commons chamber to listen to the Prime Minister attempt to justify his failure. He did a poor job.
Whilst the PM has said that the collapse of the Afghan Government was inevitable, he and his foreign secretary Dominic Raab abdicated responsibility by both going on holiday as the Taliban raced towards Kabul. They have done nothing to prepare for the collapse of the Afghan Government. This lazy Government of chancers simply aren’t up to the job – they never do the necessary work and are constantly caught by surprise. It is humiliating and embarrassing to have such an inept administration. They have badly let down both the Afghan people and our armed forces personnel who sacrificed so much for a freer and safer Afghanistan.
When our forces went into Afghanistan twenty years ago, the Taliban routinely denied the human rights of women and girls, preventing them from being educated or working and only allowing them to leave their homes accompanied by men and wearing a burka. We are seeing evidence of that again already on the ground. The Taliban allowed Al Qaeda terrorists to operate training camps from where attacks in other parts of the world were planned and launched. We have seen now these same terrorists freed by the Taliban from Afghan jails. The PM’s mishandling of this crisis puts our safety and security at risk once more.
Our armed forces who served there deserve our gratitude. They have been left to question the value of this service, and the ultimate sacrifice made by 457 of their comrades. Many live with the scars and injuries of their service every day. The Government’s ineptitude has left them reliving trauma and wondering if their sacrifice was in vain. They must be properly supported.
The UK must now provide real help to those who stood alongside us and we should offer safety to those who need it. This must happen now, without the Government dragging its feet on numbers. We must do all we can to protect the rights of women and girls, and to protect the freedom the Afghan people have enjoyed over the last two decades. We must be given real answers on how this monumental Government failure was allowed to happen, because while this is a foreign policy debacle, it is the Afghan people who will pay the price for it.