Today I was in Parliament for the debate on the tragic events that are unfolding in Afghanistan.

For 20 years, we, our international partners and Afghans have fought to progress peace, security and gender equality in Afghanistan.

Women and girls in particular saw their lives transformed by the fall of the Taliban regime. 

This did not come freely. It came at a price that cannot measured simply in currency, but at an invaluable cost of lives lost.

457 British forces personnel, and many thousands more Afghans and personnel from countries around the world.

The catastrophe that we now see unfolding in Afghanistan is devastating. 

The progress that has been fought for at such great cost is now being lost.

It is a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan, not least women and girls.

As political leaders and an international community we have failed them. 

We cannot fail them again. 

We must now step up.

Civilians are fleeing the Taliban, desperate to protect themselves and their families. 

They need safe and legal routes to safety.

But Boris Johnson has announced a Resettlement Programme that doesn’t meet the scale of the crisis or the obligation that we owe to the Afghan people.

We cannot betray the people of Afghanistan. We cannot ignore the British nationals still in Kabul. And we cannot forget all of those who fought to rid Afghanistan of terror.

We must safely evacuate our diplomatic staff.

We must establish a Resettlement Programme that meets the scale of the refugee crisis.

We must lead, now.

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