Knight’s Days – the reporting back from Westminster column with Sir Greg Knight: Crucial steps taken to remove to safety British nationals and others who remain in Afghanistan

The current situation in Afghanistan is a nightmare and understandably there remains widespread concern about human rights abuses and the likelihood of a renewed rise in terrorism.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 12:24 pm
The fraud of impersonation has generated losses of more than £60 million.

The current situation in Afghanistan is a nightmare and understandably there remains widespread concern about human rights abuses and the likelihood of a renewed rise in terrorism.

The situation is complex. Back in 2014, the UK ceased all combat operations in Afghanistan and brought the majority of our troops home. About 750 UK personnel remained there under NATO’s mission to train and assist the country’s own security forces.

However, following the announcement by US President Biden and the NATO summit declaration that the Alliance’s military operations in Afghanistan were “coming to an end”, all British troops were scheduled to return home.

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight.

NATO and the USA said that indefinite military involvement in Afghanistan was unsustainable and that Afghan security forces should be given independence to stand on their own two feet.

Unfortunately, once the Americans left, that hope only lasted a few days. Many people remain concerned at the takeover by the Taliban and they are right to be so.

But our NATO allies were unwilling to maintain a permanent military presence there and felt that the governance of Afghanistan ought to be a matter for the Afghans and not forever for the USA or NATO.

Britain has acted in accord with NATO policy, which has followed the lead of the largest NATO member, the USA and when President Biden made it clear that he had no intention of continuing deployment of American troops in Afghanistan, NATO accepted the realities of that situation. I am pleased that the British Government has taken crucial steps to remove to safety British nationals and others who remain in the country.

However, the current circumstances are volatile, difficult, and unpredictable.

Evacuation of those at risk is well underway and has been “operating at full pace” according to Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key.

This follows a new agreement to work closely together between the Prime Minister and the US President.

Further, the UK has been amongst the biggest bilateral donors of aid to Afghanistan, and continued UK development funding beyond 2021 will be closely linked to peace negotiations, progress on poverty reduction, the rule of law and human rights issues.

We need to see more countries stepping forward to play their part in assisting in the humanitarian crisis, because the emergency there is not a just a local issue or a matter for Britain alone -it is a disaster that demands the attention of the world.

Moving from a calamity far away to potential misfortunes closer to home, the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by everyone. It is not only hard-working families who have been affected but villains have too and they are looking for new ways to scam some money from you.

The fraud of impersonation has already generated losses of more than £60 million, with criminals imitating not only Government departments but also banks, the police, retailers and internet providers.

So, if you get a call on your phone, or receive a text or email out of the blue to say that there is a problem with your account, be very suspicious indeed, particularly if you are told that you need to pay some outstanding balance immediately.

Sometimes, criminals use the opposite ploy and tell you that you are actually due an unexpected refund or rebate, but the process which follows will invariably end with you being asked for your bank details. If this happens to you, do not give away any info. You should hang up and report the fraudsters to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.