During a debate about the situation in Afghanistan, MP Bob Seely said: "This is a difficult and upsetting debate, and I am not quite sure why. It may be because some of the people I knew are now dead and because I do not think that some of the things that are being said are true. I want to set the record straight and, in the short time I have, correct some of the false assumptions that are being made and also make a few observations. I pay tribute to the many hon. Members who have made excellent speeches, especially the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee and the Chairman of the Defence Committee, whose speeches were incredibly good.
"What has happened is an appalling and unnecessary self-inflicted wound. We are being presented with a choice: invest more blood and treasure or walk away. No: we had a steady state, give or take, in Afghanistan for the last few years, and the mission was a train, equip and mentor one. It was large, but for between 5,000 and 20,000 troops, contractors, special forces and so on who were there, it was smaller than many NATO/US bases and missions around the world. We have chosen to withdraw politically; we have not been forced to do so on security grounds. I think we will regret that decision for many years.
"The collapse happened because a truly dreadful US President, Donald Trump, who was probably in hock to the Russians, dealt with the Taliban behind the Afghan Government’s back—a shocking betrayal. Joe Biden, who admires Kennedy—we had some great quotes from Kennedy earlier—could have changed things. He has chosen not to and has opened the United States, Europe, India and many allies throughout the world to considerable terrorist risks from the 2,500 to 4,000 jihadi nut jobs—pardon my French—who are currently being released from Bagram, Kandahar and Kabul. When they have stopped slaughtering our friends and beheading a few key women journalists, they will turn their attention to us. We have walked away from a successful anti-terrorist operation after 20 years. Sooner or later, we will reap the rewards.
"Many people have said that the Afghans did not fight. I was in Afghanistan four times over seven months, not on long tours—four months, two months and a few weeks. In my experience, many Afghans fought very hard. At first, yes, there was an uneven flow of recruits to the police, but I had the privilege of patrolling in Nad-e-Ali north with a small team. Those people were remarkable. When we went into a village, they would tell us from where the Taliban were watching us—which haystack, which bund line. They would tell us that the motor cycle repair man had to work for the Taliban because his wife and children were under threat. They also told us that they would happily take their daughters to school, but asked why they should when there was not enough security to prevent them from being raped and abducted on the way home. Sometimes it was difficult to give them an answer that reassured.
"In many ways, those people were a model of courageous integrity. They were effective and efficient, they loved their country and they knew right from wrong. They are probably dead. If they were not killed a year ago, they will be finished off as we speak, and I find that upsetting."