Ed Davey: Government is failing Afghan people

The idea of the Taliban getting closer to power in Afghanistan is very worrying indeed. That it comes at a time when we are withdrawing troops and slashing foreign aid by 78% shows astonishing irresponsibility on behalf of our government.

You can’t just walk away and leave people in the lurch as we are doing.

Ed Davey has spoken of his concerns about the advance of the Taliban:

As the Taliban take swathes of territory on their advance towards Kabul, millions of women and girls are facing the prospect of a new era of injustice, inequality and brutality – while the potential for a new vector of international terrorism forms across Afghanistan.

Meanwhile the UK is failing to meet its moral obligation to those interpreters who risked their lives supporting our troops, while our international development spending in Afghanistan has been slashed.

The spectre of a new security threat is looming. The UK government must work urgently with our international partners because right now we are failing to meet our responsibilities to the Afghan people.

Just before the Summer recess, Layla Moran talked to the I about the aid cuts after Commons Library research revealed that some of the most vulnerable and volatile countries in the world were having their aid cut by huge amounts – aid to the Palestinians down 89%, to Afghanistan 78%, to Yemen 71%.

Layla said:

These figures paint an incredibly concerning picture about the potential impact of the aid cuts in the most vulnerable parts of the world.

To reduce development spending just as the UK is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is the worst of all worlds – it’s like not just pulling out the rug from under our Afghan allies, but pulling up the floorboards too.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Martin 4th Aug ’21 – 8:55am………. The UK with others chose to get its hands dirty in Afghanistan; the UK cannot now wash its hands and pretend to absolve itself of its responsibility for the consequences of what has been done…………

    Add Libya and Iraq to the list..
    .In Libya PM Cameron visited thecountry twice, promising ‘”In building a new Libya you will have no greater friend than the United Kingdom. We will stand with you every step of the way.”…Hmmm
    The refugee crisis, created by the US/UK destuction of stable governments and infrastructure, is now met with absolute hostilty to those same refugees..

    “Shame!” is too gentle a reprimand

  • Steve Trevethan 4th Aug '21 - 1:58pm

    Well contributed ,Martin!
    Might HMG also come clean about the origins of the Taliban etc?
    If nothing else, please read the last paragraph!

  • There is a civil war raging in Afghanistan https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/01/resurgent-taliban-escalates-nationwide-offensive-in-afghanistan
    With Nato troops withdrawing , continuing the struggle against the Taliban falls on the shoulders of the Afghan government and 350,000 strong Afghan security forces.
    The 78% cut in UK aid comes from analysis by the House of Commons library https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/uk-cuts-direct-aid-to-afghanistan-by-78-at-same-time-as-withdrawing-military-support-amid-taliban-advance-1117084 that estimates “Bilateral aid from the UK to Afghanistan is estimated at £37.5m for 2021/22, down from £167.5m last year – a cut of 78 per cent.”
    While the nation’s current account deficit is largely financed with donor money, only a small portion is provided directly to the government budget. The rest is provided to non-budgetary expenditure and donor-designated projects through the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations.
    Afghanistan is among the least developed countries in the world with a GDP of circa $21 billion and per capita income of just over $500 per year or $2000 in terms of purchasing power parity. The return of millions of expatriates can boost the county;s economic prospects. Both the return of expats and the maintenance of NGO donor-designated projects are highly dependent on stabilising the security situation.

  • John Marriott 4th Aug '21 - 5:34pm

    The history of trying to introduce western style democracy into countries that have been largely fiefdoms for centuries has been an abject failure. Mind you, the attempt to introduce communism (largely by the former Soviet Union) was hardly any more successful. Remember President Najibullah?

    Joe Bourke can provide us with the statistics but cannot, or doesn’t want to, provide us with the answers, except for encouraging expatriate Afghans to return – seriously? The irony is that, if they take over a civil war ravaged state, the Taliban probably have no more chance of running it than they did last time, when they effectively threw in the towel.

  • Zachary Barker 4th Aug '21 - 7:57pm

    We are talking about treating the symptoms of the problem, but not the problem itself which is NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    But we won’t say anything about that. Because we are trapped by our non-intervention tradition on the Iraq War.

    But the consequences go further than Afghanistan. Not only have we shown Russia and China the limits of our resolve, we have put a nail into the coffin of humanitarian intervention.

    Expect human rights atrocities on the scale of the Rwandan Genocide and Bosnia before we lifted a finger. Why? Because the rest of the world isn’t worth lifting a finger for. And consequently a liberal international order means nothing, because the people who espouse it most can least be bothered to uphold it.

  • Afghanistan is not known as the graveyard of empires for nothing. Alexander the Great, the British empire, the Soviet Union and now the United States all have been humbled in their attempts to conquer this fierce country. Now China looks set to step into the looming power vacuum by extending its Belt and Road scheme into Afghanistan with offers of infrastructure and rebuilding projects to the Taliban. With the Uighur Xinjiang region of China bordering Afghanistan and the Pakistan administrated region of Kashmir as well as the former soviet central asian republics, this looks like another potential disaster in the making. Will Xi Jinping heed the lessons of history in the Chinese century?

  • katerina porter 5th Aug '21 - 9:25am

    It is a betrayal by us – and we will be less trusted in the future

  • Nonconformistradical 5th Aug '21 - 9:55am

    “It is a betrayal by us – and we will be less trusted in the future”
    Perfidious Albion…?

  • David Nelson 5th Aug '21 - 12:55pm

    The pull-out from Afghanistan is primarily an American led decision. If Trump was still in powerbwe would see lots of attacks against Trump from making this decision. Because Biden is now in power there seems to be no criticism from the party of the US Government as shown in the above conversations.

  • Charles Smith 6th Aug '21 - 9:03pm

    The assassination comes as the Taliban wage fierce battles across the country, laying siege to provincial capitals in the south and west of the country. In southwestern Nimroz, the capital Zaranj was on the precipice of collapse with fierce fighting inside the city around key infrastructure, said provincial council chief Baz Mohammad Nasir.

  • Tony Zendle 14th Aug '21 - 8:16am

    I notice that not one person criticises the Taliban for what they are doing. No mass Demos. No placards. Especially surprising given the LibDem record on womens rights.

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