Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has today released a statement following the recall of parliament to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I have watched the situation in Afghanistan unfold with horror and sadness. The fall of Kabul was as devastating as it was swift, and there are already incredibly concerning human rights reports emerging from the region.
On July the 8th, the Prime Minister stated that he could foresee “no military path to victory” for the Taliban. That statement now looks to be at best naïve, and at worst, wilfully misleading. The Taliban swept through Afghanistan with incredible speed, and the abrupt ceasing of military support in the region has left the Afghan people in an exceptionally perilous position.
The priority must now be for the Government to accelerate efforts to get UK nationals, support staff and Afghans who have served and worked alongside us out of the country. The lack of preparedness on the part of the UK Government for this eventuality is totally unacceptable, and the Government must move quickly to protect those brave individuals who stood by and worked with the UK military for so many years.
We also need to see an international response to tackle the scale of the refugee crisis that will occur in the wake of the crisis. Britain must help lead that effort by committing to a British Afghanistan Resettlement Programme, a programme that must be both accessible and reflect the scale of the crisis. This year, harsh cuts to the aid budget by the Conservative Government have already seen the UK contribution to the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan cut by 76%, and the crisis reserve fund cut from £500m to £30m. The abrupt withdrawal of UK aid assistance is not only a moral failure, but also represents a decline of the UK on the world stage and greatly reduces the ability of the UK to have its interests represented overseas.
The impact of the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan is not only deeply concerning to the people of Afghanistan, but also here at home. The purpose of initial military intervention in Afghanistan was to tackle the increasing power of terrorist groups in the region, and to halt the growing rise of narcotics arriving to western shores from Afghanistan. The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan threatens to undo that vital work.
As this crisis continues to unfold, and the Government scrambles to react to a situation which it should have prepared for, I would like to take a moment to thank all our military personnel who served in Afghanistan. Your actions have enabled many people in Afghanistan, particularly women and girls, to reclaim freedoms that had long been lost under Taliban rule, and you have consequently made us safer here at home. 457 UK service personnel have lost their lives over the last 20 years, and your bravery will never be forgotten.
The events over the last few weeks represent a political failure, and it now needs to be politicians who step up and take responsibility. We must not abandon the people of Afghanistan, nor should we pretend that the consequences of foreign policy failure will not impact us here at home.