Rugby MP: We must help the Afghan workers who supported our Armed Forces

Mark Pawsey speaking in Parliament.Mark Pawsey speaking in Parliament.
Mark Pawsey speaking in Parliament.
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey spoke in Parliament after the Taliban swept across Afghanistan

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey used his own experience of visiting Afghanistan in 2011 to argue the case for supporting the Afghan workers who supported the British Armed Forces.

Following the decision of the US to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban swept across the country - capturing much of it in a matter of days.

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Parliament was recalled to hear from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, about the actions the UK would be taking to support UK nationals still in Afghanistan, and Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban.

During the recall of Parliament to debate the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan on August 18 2021, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey spoke about his trip to Afghanistan in 2011 and the duty the UK has to Afghan workers who supported the UK’s Armed Forces.

The debate lasted eight hours and saw several MPs speak about their experiences in Afghanistan, including many former members of the Armed Forces who had served in the country.

Mr Pawsey spoke about his visit to Afghanistan, which was arranged through the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.

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The scheme works to give MPs an insight into military life and the challenges faced by members of the Armed Forces.

As part of his time on the AFPS, Mark spent time at Camp Bastion alongside UK servicemen and women and members of the Afghan army and community.

He also highlighted the shocking scenes as the Afghan Government fell, including members of the Taliban using and wearing equipment which had been used by allied forces, including the British Army.

Mr Pawsey welcomed the Government’s creation of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy - aimed to help those who had been assisting Western forces over the past 20 years, and who now face significant risk of retribution from the Taliban.

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Speaking after the debate, he said: “It was right that Parliament was recalled to debate the capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the unfolding crisis as those at risk from the Taliban seek refuge outside of Afghanistan.

"I visited Camp Bastion in 2011, when we were beginning the process of transferring authority to the Afghan army and police force.

"Whilst the mission of driving Al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan was successful, the confidence we had that the new Afghan Government would be able to take over has proved to be misplaced, and there are serious questions that must be answered about the final few weeks of the Afghan Government.

“What we must now do is work with our international partners to provide refuge and safety for those Afghans, some of whom I met during my visit, who are now at risk because of their work alongside our armed forces.

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"We have a duty to them, and I am pleased that the Government has created the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, to help those fleeing the Taliban.”

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