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27th Oct, 2021

Rugby MP says UK has a duty to help Afghans flee from the Taliban

RUGBY’S MP has spoken about the duty the UK has to Afghan workers who supported the UK’s Armed Forces.

Mark Pawsey MP spoke about his 2011 trip to Afghanistan during the recall of Parliament to debate the withdrawal of forces from the country and the recent rise to power of the Taliban.

During the the eight-hour debate, the Prime Minister spoke about the actions the UK would take to support UK nationals in Afghanistan and Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban. A number of MPs also spoke about their experiences in Afghanistan, including many former members of the Armed Forces who had served in the country.

Mr Pawsey spoke about his visit to Afghanistan, arranged through the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, during which he spent time at Camp Bastion alongside UK servicemen, members of the Afghan army, and the local community.

He also welcomed the Government’s creation of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy to help those who had been assisting western forces over the past 20 years, and who now face risk of retribution from the Taliban.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Pawsey said: “It was right that Parliament was recalled to debate the capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the unfolding crisis as those at risk from the Taliban seek refuge outside of Afghanistan.

“I visited Camp Bastion in 2011, when we were beginning the process of transferring authority to the Afghan army and police force. While the mission of driving Al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan was successful, the confidence we had that the new Afghan Government would be able to take over has proved to be misplaced, and there are serious questions that must be answered about the final few weeks of the Afghan Government.

“What we must now do is work with our international partners to provide refuge and safety for those Afghans, some of whom I met during my visit, who are now at risk because of their work alongside our armed forces.

“We have a duty to them, and I am pleased that the Government has created the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, to help those fleeing the Taliban.”

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