Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
With the airlift ending I wanted to share an update on the people linked to Plymouth who are currently trapped in Afghanistan.
I’m afraid it is bad news. My team and I are trying to get 111 people (updated figure) with a connection to Plymouth home to safety.
We have helped 12 people escape in recent weeks but the vast majority of those in desperate need remain in Kabul. The people our Government has left behind include interpreters and their families who worked with our armed forces over many years and a number of children who attend Plymouth schools.
My team and I have been working to get clear answers from the MoD, Home Office and Foreign Office. Advice has been contradictory, missing and confused.
The Government had time to prepare and failed to do so. I want to pay tribute to our armed forces and to many Government officials – they’re not to blame. We owe those trying to escape Afghanistan – especially those who supported our troops – a huge debt. They’re being betrayed and left behind by our Government.
I will not abandon anyone with a Plymouth link. There are many more people who are fearing for their lives under the Taliban who should find safety in the international community, these includes: LGBT people, judges, activists and prominent campaigners for women’s rights in particular.
I genuinely fear for the lives of those left behind in Afghanistan. Many of those we are trying to help put their lives at risk to help us, and to build a better future for their country. Many are from religious and ethnic minorities who the Taliban have targeted in the past.
The Government may have ended the airlift and chosen to leave thousands behind, but my team and I won’t. We remain in contact with those in need and, although there’s no good news to share, we will keep in touch. We will not leave them behind.