The comments made by Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, on 24 August 2021.
This is a dark moment for the UK Government and for Afghans. The Prime Minister has failed to persuade President Biden to agree to extension to evacuation efforts and the painful reality is that people will be left behind – that’s appalling and unconscionable. With 18 months to prepare for this, we are left with a desperate scramble, with heroic soldiers and diplomats on the ground trying to move mountains while the clock keeps ticking.
The urgent priority remains the evacuation. The next few hours are vital. There are still so many desperate people on the ground. All possible resource should be placed into getting as many people out safely as possible.
We need to confront the new reality of Taliban control. This is a difficult situation and it is hard to swallow. But it does not mean we can give up on the Afghan people or on the things they and our troops fought so hard to build over two decades. Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis and a refugee crisis. We need to do all we can with regional partners to keep land routes open and work together to ensure people can access food, water and basic essentials and those in danger can flee. We should agree a common approach to the Taliban and seek a UN Security Council resolution to set the parameters of the world’s expectations.
We should use every lever we have, especially economic, to try to protect the gains of the last 20 years, including protecting our security and preventing Afghanistan becoming once again a safe haven for international terrorism.