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Government told to abandon ‘war and militarism’ after PM pledges to help Afghans

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

PEACE campaigners called on the government today to abandon “war and militarism” after Boris Johnson pledged to help Afghans left at the mercy of the Taliban.

In a statement to the Commons as MPs returned from the summer parliamentary recess demanding answers, the Prime Minister pledged to use “every economic, political and diplomatic lever” to aid refugees amid fears that there could be humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.

Responding to concerns about the mental health of military veterans, Mr Johnson also announced an additional £5 million for armed forces charities, claiming that “no veteran request for help will go unanswered.”

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer argued that more funding was needed. He condemned the PM’s “complacent and wrong” approach during the crisis, during which unknown numbers of Aghans who had helped Western troops and diplomats during the two-decade-long occupation of their country were left behind. 

Sir Keir also praised the military personnel who had assisted with the evacuation from Kabul airport last month, saying: “While they were saving lives, our political leadership was missing in action.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was holidaying in Crete as the Afghan capital fell, has previously claimed that military and intelligence figures told him that it was “unlikely Kabul would fall this year.”

But on Sunday, chief of the defence staff Sir Nick Carter denied this, saying that it had been made clear in July that a rapid collapse of the Afghan government was possible when Western troops left. 

General Carter also claimed “everybody got it wrong” about the pace of the Taliban takeover. 

In response, Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German stressed that “everybody did not get it wrong about Afghanistan,” in reference to leftwingers who warned against the original invasion in 2001.  

“The doctrine of ’humanitarian intervention’ has failed,” she told the Morning Star.

“Help for refugees and for former soldiers suffering as a result of the war in Afghanistan is welcome, but if it is not accompanied by an understanding of why this imperialist war was such a disastrous failure, then successive governments will repeat the same mistakes.

“[Mr] Johnson blusters about troops and dealing with the threat of terrorism, but the blunt truth is the war on terror has greatly increased the threat of terrorism.

“We need to abandon the war and militarism which has done so much damage.”


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