Friday, August 27th, 2021

Kim Leadbeater MP said:

“The deaths and injuries after the appalling attacks around the airport in Kabul are devastating to witness.

It is unforgivable that desperate people, including young children, should be targeted in this way along with those brave service personnel doing their best to help them.

Responsibility lies squarely with those who instigated the attacks. Sadly the intelligence warnings that the airport was a likely target proved correct.

Our horror at what has happened must not distract us from the huge challenges and responsibilities for the international community going forward.

As British and American forces withdraw our first concern must be to do all we can for those whose lives and wellbeing continue to be threatened. With my front bench Labour colleagues I will be calling on ministers to ensure the UK gets aid directly to those who need it most and offers practical and moral leadership in the refugee crisis. That means taking our fair share of refugees now – not promising to do so sometime in the future when it may be too late, and also ensuring that the resettlement process is suitable for both those who are seeking refuge and the communities they are joining.

I have been in regular contact with colleagues in Parliament and with the local authority to ensure we are doing everything possible to help. I have co-signed a letter from Harriet Harman MP supporting female MPs in Afghanistan and put my name to a letter in The Times insisting that we must not turn our backs on the people there. I also joined a meeting this week which included updates from the UK Ambassador to Afghanistan and General Nick Borton, Chief of Staff Operations, who spoke of the heroic efforts of our troops on the ground to provide much needed food, water and support to Afghan civilians in need.

I applaud the commitment from Kirklees Council to play its full part in supporting the humanitarian response to the situation, including offering a safe welcome to those refugees who find their way here. The work of local charities and the generosity shown by so many people in Batley and Spen is a testament to our values as a community. At the same time, my thoughts are with the families and friends of those British service personnel killed and injured in Afghanistan over the past two decades. They served with outstanding courage and bravery and we owe it to them not to fall short in our response today. This is, above all, a humanitarian situation. We encouraged the people of Afghanistan to believe that the values of tolerance, equality and freedom would help define their lives. We told Afghan women and children in particular that they could look forward to a future free from oppression. Too many people died to defend those principles for us to abandon them now.”


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