KABUL – The UK government will be launching an investigation into a video posted on Twitter by senior Conservative MP, Tobias Ellwood, in which he asserted that Afghanistan had undergone a significant transformation under the Taliban rule. The announcement came from Rishi Sunak, who stated that he would thoroughly examine the content of the video.
In the video, shared from Afghanistan on Monday, Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the Commons Defence Committee and a former defence minister, claimed that corruption had decreased and security had notably improved in the country. However, his statements were met with strong criticism from fellow Tory MP Mark Francois, who also serves on the committee.
During the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Mark Francois pointed out the sacrifice made by 457 members of the UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan and expressed his astonishment at Mr. Ellwood’s praises for the Taliban government. He emphasized the ongoing dangers faced by Afghan civilians who had supported Nato forces and the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education.
Responding to the concerns, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the British servicemen and women and reiterated his commitment to calling out human rights abuses worldwide. He acknowledged the issues raised regarding women’s education in Afghanistan and clarified that diplomatic dialogues with regimes did not imply endorsement of their actions.
Tobias Ellwood defended his comments the following day, arguing that stability in the country had improved significantly compared to the time of conflict. He advocated for a more direct and robust engagement strategy rather than remote criticism.
It’s worth noting that the UK withdrew its military and diplomatic presence from Afghanistan in August 2021 when the Taliban gained control of Kabul. Since then, there have been reports of teenage girls being banned from attending school in the country. The investigation into Tobias Ellwood’s video aims to address the concerns raised and clarify the government’s position on the matter.