Peterborough MP says ‘20 years of sacrifice in Afghanistan has been thrown away’

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has said ‘the horrifying scenes in Afghanistan’ are his priority and he is ‘deeply frustrated’ that 20 years of sacrifice has been thrown away.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 2:46 pm
Ministry of Defence handout photo of British citizens and dual nationals residing in Afghanistan getting on a RAF plane before being relocated to the UK. British troops are racing against the clock to get remaining UK nationals and their local allies out of Afghanistan following the dramatic fall of the country's Western-backed government to the Taliban. Picture: PA Media

The world has been shocked by scenes from Afghanistan as The Taliban took over. Families in Peterborough with relatives in the country have said they fear what will happen to their loved ones in the country following the take over.

Peterborough City Council said they will resettle Afghan citizens.

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In his column in this week’s Peterborough Telegraph, Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said: “After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, everything has been overshadowed. The horrifying scenes from Afghanistan are rightly our priority.

“What’s happening affects Peterborough. We have many Hazara and others from Afghanistan, whose families and friends are caught in the chaos. This is an incredibly difficult time for them.

“My frustration is that 20 years of sacrifice has been thrown away. When the Americans insisted on withdrawing, against our advice, only the UK and Turkey were prepared to support the stabilisation mission. We couldn’t keep British forces engaged when other allies weren’t willing.

“Our initial efforts to remove the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan cost the lives of 454 UK personnel, with many more seriously injured. The stabilisation mission since 2014 has not.

“The same, low casualty rate has held for the US forces. President Biden’s decision to hastily withdraw all American support was a huge error. Trump parleyed with the Taliban and Biden has followed by removing the barriers.

“The sad truth is that America no longer wants to be responsible for protecting Afghan women from abuse, or keeping girls in school, or avoiding power being seized by dangerous fundamentalists, or maintaining the legacy of the US and UK soldiers who died. They don’t see it as their problem.

“Those who complain about ‘American imperialism’ should take a good look at where American isolationism ends. And this is only the beginning of the end, as far as China, Russia and the world’s assortment of extremists and dictators are concerned.

“Britain can’t stand alone in Afghanistan, but it’s our duty to help people who risked their lives helping our forces. We owe a debt to the local translators and many others.

“We have already brought back over 3,400 Afghan staff and their families. As our Defence Secretary says, “We shall keep going until we can’t. And after we have left, we shall keep the scheme open from abroad.”

“The UK Ambassador is currently at Kabul Airport, personally processing travel documents. Beyond those who helped us, we will also take an additional 20,000 refugees, under the resettlement scheme announced this week.

“My office is working very hard to support local constituents and help their family members. You can get in touch by emailing: [email protected]

“I shall also be meeting with local campaigners this week to discuss the ongoing situation.

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “The situation in Afghanistan is deeply troubling. After so many Afghans risked their lives to help British troops over the past twenty years, it is only right that we help them now.”

“The Prime Minister has announced a new scheme which will resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans at risk under the Taliban, including vulnerable women, girls, and Afghan interpreters who supported British troops. This programme will be a lifeline to many families.”

““On Wednesday I asked the Prime Minister in Parliament what more is being done to rally the international community into addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and am pleased that the UK will be doing it’s fair share to help those most in need, while we ask other countries to step in as well.”