Afghanistan: write to your MP!

As a collective of people who have worked in Afghanistan for the last couple of decades, we are horrified about the recent turn of events.

Our friends, our colleagues and the entire nation of Afghanistan has been forgotten. We have set up a non-funded support group that is dedicated to work day and night until our voices are heard. We don’t have the luxury of debating about the situation — we shouldn’t be in this situation.

The immediate priority is humanitarian assistance and helping the people on the Talibans hit list — women and girls, international employees; journalists; and Afghan security forces.

There is a recall of Parliament on Wednesday. Please write to your MP with your concerns, suggestions and demands urging them to act to save Afghan lives. The more personal the letter the better. However, I have posted below a standard letter you could amend, and my own personal letter to my MP.

You find your MPs details here: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp/

SUGGESTED TEXT TO ADAPT

Dear MP,

I am deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the emerging humanitarian crisis.

I call on you to demand that the British government work with the international community to immediately provide:

  • Support for the UN Security Council to provide security and peace for Afghan citizens
  • Immediate support for Internally Displaced Persons through ensuring security, food, shelter and hope via Afghan and International NGOs
  • Waiving the Special Visa process and saving those Afghans who worked for NATO forces and who are now in imminent danger from Taliban reprisals
  • A demand to hold the Taliban to their promises on human rights and specifically female rights and threaten international sanctions for all Taliban government individuals if they don’t preserve these hard-won rights
  • Call on the Pakistani government to end their support for the Taliban and to use their influence in order to facilitate all of the above.

I am deeply upset at the failure of our government to ensure that on their departure from Afghanistan the relevant support networks were not in place to prevent these catastrophic events.

Yours sincerely,

Name

MESSAGE FROM A FEMALE AFGHAN COLLEAGUE

“We, Afghan women really need for your all support as we are the most vulnerable group. We do not want to experience violence (physical, mental, emotional, economical and etc.), early forced marriages, rape, sexual slavery, gender inequality, chronic instability, illiteracy, lack of health services, movement restrictions, losing our jobs, and others. We are psychologically disturbed because we are the ones who will lose our jobs, will be financially dependent, will stay illiterate, will be sexually violated, will be into forced marriages or rape, have to wear burqa, will have movement restrictions, lose even our basic rights, and will be banned from everything almost. We really appreciate your support on this and please consider us. We, Afghan women want to live like other women in the world. Our rights and freedom is in danger. We do not want to stay at home and experience exactly the same as in 1990s. We are worried because our rights, dignity and freedom are in danger.”

MY OWN EMAIL

Dear Sally Ann Hart,

I am writing to you because I'm deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan. I now live and work in Hastings but for four years I worked in Kabul in media training, journalism, social media, and, finally teaching diplomats in the Foreign Office. I retain many deep friendships and contacts with colleagues and employees, all of whom are horrified about the situation and in fear of their lives.

This is a huge humanitarian crisis. Anyone who has been associated in any way with the US or UK military or civil organisations; women and girls; all journalists and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is in imminent danger, as you must know. However, there is also a large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have fled to Kabul and who are now facing the very forces they fled from while having to live in the open on Kabul streets.

I understand that the PM is about to re-call parliament, and I would like to suggest that you put forward the following suggestions.

Rory Stewart MP knows the country and geo-political situation extremely well. He has the contacts, the diplomatic experience in the area and can operate at the level of the UN. Would it be a good idea to put him forward to be appointed as British 'rapporteur' or similar to get everything needed in place urgently? For example, liaise with other governments and the UN, work with military and civil organisations, work with Afghan government remnants, civil society and international and Afghan NGOs.

Stewart could then assess whether a major airlift operation is needed (I think it's likely).

The special visa system is broken. The process is much too complex, especially in this situation. Please suggest a streamlining and/or waiving of the tortuous requirements.

Please call for an end to the need for Afghans in danger to apply for special visas from third countries only. The borders are essentially closed. Flights are cancelled and airspace will be reserved for diplomatic and military evacuation of international staff for the foreseeable future. There are no options for Afghan civilians now.

British Council Afghan national employees will be seen as essentially the same as those working directly for the military and embassy, yet are excluded from the special visa process. This puts them in danger and is a slap in the face given the hard work they have put in for us.

IDPs in Kabul and elsewhere need urgent food, shelter, security and hope. Only the international community can provide that. It is likely that the Taliban would not interfere with sincere efforts to help these people, but this would need careful mediation led by someone like Stewart drawing on expertise from people like the ICRC. The logistical problems of supply into Kabul and across the country needs to be addressed and material supplied, and funding channelled in through relevant refugee organisations.

I do understand that once the Americans took the decision to leave, Britain did not have many options. Yet this will be seen as a huge victory for the Taliban and a huge betrayal of Afghans. They feel abandoned by the international community. It leaves behind a broken state with a vacuum into which all sorts of narco- and Islamic terrorism can develop. At the very least Britain can supply some leadership in trying to provide support and help in this devastating situation.

Please let me know if you need briefing materials or wish to discuss any of these issues further,
Yours,
Ben Bruges

AFGHAN SUPPORT GROUP

If you have serious humanitarian experience can you consider joining (message me)? If you have lived or worked in Afg ditto. Please stay informed. Please accept that we don’t have energy to take on your emotional shock or political opinions right now. However we, and all Afghans, need urgent help right now. Thank you for whatever you can do.

“Read widely and speak what you know” — I’ll try, but rarely follow good advice. Here for social use, not social abuse; inclusion not elitism; desire not duty.