This week has seen Parliament recalled to debate the situation in Afghanistan and the resurgence of the Taliban. I have chosen not to go abroad on holiday this year, so it was no challenge to get back to Westminster in order to speak in the debate. I know for some colleagues it was not so easy, and then frustrating when over 80 people were not called to speak.
My focus is very much on the unfolding human rights crisis for Afghan women and girls. We already know that female students have been turned away from their universities. Women have been attacked in the street for not wearing a burkha. Female journalists have gone into hiding and know they will be targets for the Taliban. There are a myriad of stories of women sent home from work, their jobs taken by men.
Yet still I have received messages telling me the 2021 Taliban is not as bad as it once was. That they have been clear girls will be allowed in schools and that women only need to observe Islamic law as they, the Taliban, have interpreted it. I shall judge them by their actions not words, and we saw the terrible scenes from Kabul airport where clearly Afghan nationals are fleeing in terror. I believe they are right to be afraid, there is a track record of brutality, especially towards women.
I do welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding a bespoke resettlement programme, which I spent all day Tuesday calling for. But there can be no doubt it will need to move at pace if it is to do any good.