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Largan column: 'This is a humiliating failure for the international community'

High Peak MP Robert Largan.

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan writes about the desperate situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban's takeover and the responsibility that the UK has to help.

A picture paints a thousand words. So does the photograph of pictures of women being painted over on shopfronts in Kabul speaks volumes about the complete and utter catastrophe that is taking place in Afghanistan right now, as the Taliban rapidly seized power following the US withdrawal from the country.

This is a humiliating failure for the international community. But more than that, it is a human rights tragedy and a serious future security threat.

The Taliban are allied to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. When they were last in power in Afghanistan, their Jihadist training camps led directly to terrorist attacks taking place in US and UK cities. They executed people for being gay, beat women for having the temerity of saying their own name, and banned girls from going to school.

When the US announced they were withdrawing from Afghanistan, the UK government tried to build a NATO coalition of partners to fill the gap that the US forces would leave behind. Regrettably, only the UK and Turkey were willing to take part, which would not have been enough.

We have an immediate and urgent responsibility to rescue trapped British citizens and provide sanctuary for those Afghans who worked alongside us over the last 20 years, including translators, who face brutal reprisal if they cannot escape the Taliban.

But our responsibility goes beyond that. Afghanistan has a population of 38 million people. It does not take a genius to realise that there will be a huge number of displaced people, with many fleeing for their lives. The chaotic scenes at Kabul Airport show how desperate people are to escape the country and the reach of the Taliban.

We need to work together with our international partners to swiftly put together a resettlement scheme that saves those fleeing from death and tyranny while ensuring that resettlement is done fairly without falling disproportionately on any one country. It is encouraging that key regional players like India have already stepped up.

We also need to remain vigilant against Afghanistan once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists and a planning ground for launching attacks against us. There has been a major failure of intelligence and that needs addressing urgently.

My heart breaks for the men, women, and children of Afghanistan. I only hope that this descent back into tyranny is a temporary one. Unfortunately, I am not optimistic.

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