STATEMENT ON AFGHANISTAN

I’m grateful to the many constituents who have been in touch with me over the hugely distressing scenes we are all witnessing right now coming from Afghanistan.

While I appreciate that the withdrawal of the Western powers was inevitable, the way that it has been conducted has been shameful: not least because it is putting in danger many organisations and individuals who had either cooperated with them, or who had made decisions based on promises made by the UK Government.

As the brother of someone who served on two tours of duty in the country, I know also how much of a painful trigger many of these scenes are, as so many who were in the country either as military personnel, charity workers or otherwise will be questioning now whether it was all worth it. The UK Government must answer to why so much resources, human and economic, were deployed in pursuit of what now seems to be a doomed enterprise.

And so, at the very least, I will be demanding the UK Government ensures that all Afghan nationals who worked with the UK military or government over this time are able to claim asylum quickly and easily in the UK, as a step on the way to being given permanent residency here. They must not be allowed to abandon so many people to the reality of life under a fundamentalist Islamic regime that has no respect for women and minorities.

It would appear that the evacuation of most UK citizens in the country has been successfully achieved, but beyond that it will be a long process to ensure that this Government does not abdicate the huge responsibility it bears for the current situation. As we process the huge ramifications of the last few days over the coming months, you can be assured that I and my SNP colleagues will stick to these principles.