NICOLA Sturgeon has condemned the “shameful abandoning” of people in Afghanistan as Taliban forces surge closer to Kabul.
Admitting there are no “easy answers”, the First Minister said the world “can’t just turn away”, describing the ongoing crisis as a “tragedy.”
Earlier today, Boris Johnson said the sacrifices made by British troops in Afghanistan have not been “in vain” but warned there was no “military solution” to prevent the resurgence of the Taliban.
Following a meeting of the UK Government’s Cobra contingencies committee, the Prime Minister confirmed the “vast bulk” of the remaining UK embassy staff in Kabul would return in the next few days.
What is happening in Afghanistan is a tragedy. The Afghan people have been shamefully abandoned and the implications, for women and girls especially, are horrifying. There are no easy answers but the world can’t just turn away and leave them to their fate https://t.co/TdmSFOeFD7
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 13, 2021
At the same time, he said the UK Government was stepping up efforts to relocate Afghans who had assisted British forces during their time in the country and who now face reprisals if they fall into hands of the militants.
A team of Home Office officials to help deal with their applications will join 600 British troops due to fly out to the country to assist in the evacuation of the remaining UK nationals and embassy staff as the Taliban forces close in on the capital.
Commenting on the situation, Ms Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: “What is happening in Afghanistan is a tragedy.
“The Afghan people have been shamefully abandoned and the implications, for women and girls especially, are horrifying.
“There are no easy answers but the world can’t just turn away and leave them to their fate”.
Other MPs also shared widespread dismay, similarly claiming the country was being abandoned to its fate with a series of provincial capitals falling to the Taliban as they continue their lightning advance across the country.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson said it was the “inevitable logical consequence” of the decision of the the US administration of President Joe Biden to complete the final pull-out of American troops by September.
While he said that the UK would continue to work with international partners to prevent the country again becoming a breeding ground for international terrorism, he acknowledged they could not impose a solution on the battlefield.
“It is very difficult obviously, but I think the UK can be extremely proud of what has been done in Afghanistan over the last 20 years,” he said.
“I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution – a combat solution – in Afghanistan.
“What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region around the world who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terror.”
We told yesterday how the UK Government announced plans for hundreds of troops to be sent to the south Asian country.
Last week, all UK nationals in Afghanistan were advised to leave because of the “worsening security situation”.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told journalists 600 troops will be sent to Kabul on a “short-term basis” in response to the increasing violence across the country.
They are expected to arrive in the coming days.
He said: “I have authorised the deployment of additional military personnel to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, assist British nationals to leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan staff who risked their lives serving alongside us.
“The security of British nationals, British military personnel and former Afghan staff is our first priority. We must do everything we can to ensure their safety.”
The US has also announced that it is deploying around 3000 extra troops to help the departure of embassy staff.
The Taliban have captured Herat – Afghanistan’s third-largest city, and there are fears Kabul could fall within 90 days.