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Statement on Afghanistan

The Liberal Party expresses huge concern in regard to the withdrawal of U.S. and Allied troops and support staff from Afghanistan.

Once the Taliban had breached the terms of the U.S. led agreement for withdrawal, an immediate revoking of the withdrawal agreement should have been undertaken.

Allied forces had little option but to withdraw their troops to safety when US Air cover was withdrawn. The primary focus now had to become an evacuation effort.

The UK government was right to press the U.S. to delay their withdrawal to afford both them and allied forces more time to undertake a safe withdrawal including vulnerable staff and families who have worked with NATO forces.

Allied force governments also need to work with pro-democratic forces such as those in the Panjshir Valley, to establish alternative evacuation routes.

At home, we must welcome the returning troops who have been withdrawn in the most unwelcome circumstances. We must also hold out a hand of friendship to Afghani refugees, who have been forced to leave their homes in fear, for their part in supporting British efforts.

The Liberal Party believes the U.S. and allied forces were wrong to go into Afghanistan because regime change is not a permitted reason for invasion under international law. However, having gone in, an early departure following the defeat of Al Qaeda would have been appropriate.

The International community should concentrate its efforts on rescuingĀ those who are vulnerable to reprisals by the Taliban regime.

Party President Steve Radford