I’m back in Parliament today, following events in Afghanistan.
For 20 years we’ve been battling extremists obsessed with perverting Islamic ideals. Whether it’s Daesh who emerged from the remnants of Al Qaeda or the Taliban, their striking feature, apart from their barbarity, is their attitude towards women who can’t hold jobs but can be sold and taken as slaves.
This isn’t about religion or cultural differences, it’s about human rights. We paid a high price fighting for this in Afghanistan.
I’ll never forget my visits to the Centre for Defence Medicine, at Selly Oak Hospital, where so many of our troops were treated. We lost around 460 personnel with a further 2,000 injured. Their bravery brought hope to many.
It’s not been at all easy but until last week, Afghanistan was a place where girls went to school and women could work in the civil service, the judiciary and the media.
It started going wrong when Donald Trump tried to save his re-election campaign by claiming he could end the war. Not surprisingly, the Taliban outmanoeuvred the great deal maker and played him for the fool he was.
Once Trump set the wheels in motion, the outcome was probably inevitable although astonishing that only weeks ago, our PM still thought there was little threat. There are those who say it wasn’t our fight as many also decried going to war with Hitler. Sometimes we need to take a stand against evil.
The fate of the Afghanistan people is once again in the hands of the Taliban. We can redeem ourselves, a little, by now doing right by those who helped our troops and the obviously genuine refugees trying to flee this awful regime.
Our PM is believed to liken himself to Winston Churchill, right now he looks more like Neville Chamberlain. If he’s to salvage anything from this debacle, he needs to honour our obligations to those people to whom we owe a huge debt.
There can be no backsliding from him or his Home Secretary and he needs to learn this simple truth.
You can’t negotiate deals with extremists!