'Afghanistan fell on Govt's watch': Labour MP demands 'humility' from PM over crisis

18 August 2021, 11:56

By Emma Soteriou

Prime Minister Boris Johnson should show "humility" towards the Afghanistan crisis, Labour MP and Mayor of South Yorkshire Dan Jarvis has said.

Mr Jarvis acknowledged that the country had fallen to the Taliban on the British government's watch, so they should take responsibility moving forward.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, he said: "I’d actually like to see Britain playing a leading role in a coalition of nations that continues to provide support."

"It won’t be the military support that we provided over the past 20 years, but we do still have some influence. There are some levers that we can pull.

Read more: Watch live: Parliament debates Afghanistan crisis after Taliban takes control

"That’s what I expect to hear from the Prime Minister. Some humility, first of all, because this catastrophe – although not completely down to this government because it goes back a number of years – this is happening on this government’s watch.

"I expect some humility from the Prime Minister and some sort of sense that he’s on top of this.

"That he’s working with international allies and with partners in the region and that everything possible is being done to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan."

Read more: Ex-Marine in Kabul's powerful message to Boris Johnson and MPs on Afghanistan

"The world is watching. We don’t quite know how the Taliban are going to play this over the next few days, weeks, months and years," Mr Jarvis also said.

It comes amid reports of people - including women and former officials - being targeted by the group, which says it has has declared an 'amnesty' in Afghanistan.

"It is relatively quiet and calm at the moment, but the world is watching.

"The real test of the new administration in Kabul is when the interest of the international community is slightly diverted away."

He added: "Many of us are deeply concerned and very cynical about the ability of the Taliban to respect human rights.

"We’re obviously deeply concerned about the way in which they will likely treat women and girls. This is an extremely difficult moment for the country.

"It’s incredibly important that we remain engaged as part of the international community."

Read more: UK resettlement scheme could give up to 20,000 Afghans refugee status

It comes as General Sir Nick Carter said that the Taliban have always been generalised as "bad guys".

"Over the last 20 years, people have always generalised about the Taliban, trying to paint them in a corner as the bad guys, we're the good guys, it's never as straight forward as that," he said.

"I think we need to be patient and see what happens, we need to make it very clear to them in our engagement that we wont tolerate international terrorism being trained and exported from Afghan soil."

Read more: We will judge the Taliban on their 'actions rather than words' – PM

Parliament was recalled on Wednesday to debate the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

Boris Johnson has said that he will judge the Taliban on their 'actions rather than words'.

"It would be a mistake for any country to recognise any new regime in Kabul prematurely or bilaterally… those countries that care about Afghanistan’s future should work together towards common conditions about the conduct of the new regime before deciding together whether to recognise it and on what terms," he said.

"We will judge this regime based on the choices it makes and by its actions rather than by its words."