I became concerned that failing to recognise the de facto Taliban government of Afghanistan was doing more harm than good, so I wrote to my MP, Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse:
From: Tony Locke
Sent: 7 February 2022 08:23
To: Office Of Wera Hobhouse
Subject: Recognising the Afghan government
Hi Wera, I'm writing in support of international recognition of the government in Afghanistan. I'm not sure what the official Lib Dem view is on this issue, but I wanted to register my view that the people of Afghanistan are suffering terribly at the moment, and the famine is set to get worse, and their suffering would be alleviated by recognition of the government.
and I received the following reply:
From: Office Of Wera Hobhouse
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2022 at 14:11
Subject: Re: Recognising the Afghan government
To: Tony Locke
Thank you for your email.
Nobody will have followed the recent events in Afghanistan without feeling great alarm, worry and shame about the failure of the West to stop the advance of the Taliban and support the people in Afghanistan.
My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I do not believe in recognising the Taliban as the official Government of Afghanistan. The withdrawal from Afghanistan has made the British people less safe by shrinking our role on the world stage and failing to work with other countries to combat the threat of terrorism. The Government has left it to become a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda again, without a thought to the impact on our national security.
The Taliban’s gaining of control over Afghanistan, including Panjshir, is devastating for millions of innocent women and girls who are fearing for their lives. Their liberties and rights are in the process of being extinguished once again.
The Liberal Democrats called for an immediate commitment to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees as a bare minimum. The priority should be to bring those most at risk to safety through an emergency Women and Girls Resettlement Scheme. The Government’s plans to resettle 5,000 refugees is not enough.
The Home Office’s statement in Parliament in early January 2022, formerly launching the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme, revealed that women, girls, and religious and other minorities in Afghanistan have been put to the back of queue of the Government's resettlement scheme.
Back in August 2021, this Government made a promise to women, girls, and religious and other minorities in Afghanistan - that they would be a priority under the new Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme. That was a promise of hope to these people, at a time when they are living in fear from the Taliban because of their identity.
Now, the Conservative Government has not only broken that promise, they have effectively told these Afghans that they are at the back of the queue. The Ministers responsible for this callous decision – which will cost lives – should hang their heads in shame. The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need. The Liberal Democrats believe that the Government needs to show that same leadership and compassion now.
The Government must also ensure it is doing all it can to provide a safe exit for those in third countries who risk dangerous deportation to Afghanistan. The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to work with international allies to establish a safe passage corridor for all those in Afghanistan who need to flee the Taliban and to provide aid to those remaining in Afghanistan, a call echoed by NGO, Refugees International.
Thank you again for writing to me, and please do not hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any further assistance.
With best wishes,
Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat MP for Bath