Stephen Kinnock: UK has a 'moral duty' to protect Afghans who assisted Western forces

  • Stephen Kinnock speaking on Good Morning Britain

The UK has a "moral duty" to protect those who assisted Western forces during their time in Afghanistan, a Welsh MP has said.

Mr Kinnock, Labour's MP for Aberavon, told ITV's Good Morning Britain it may be "necessary" to engage in dialogue with the Taliban in order to ensure safe evacuation for people.

He was also highly critical of the UK Government and accused it of a "dereliction of duty" regarding the situation in Afghanistan and later accused Boris Johnson of being "asleep at the wheel".

It comes as the foreign secretary admitted the UK "underestimated" the Taliban's will to takeover Afghanistan as he blamed the country's security forces for capitulating so quickly.

Mr Kinnock said, "The top priority now has to be for us to help get all of the British nationals out of Afghanistan and all of the Afghans who have so bravely supported our troops and our aid effort and the humanitarian work that the United Kingdom has been doing.

"Those people really are at risk now and we've got to be able to do the right thing for them.

"That may well involve having conversations with the Taliban to ensure that those people are given safe passage. I think we have to be pragmatic about that."

Taliban insurgents have swept across the country in recent weeks taking territory at speed Credit: PA Images

The Taliban have swept across Afghanistan in recent weeks with chaotic scenes in the capital, Kabul, on Monday as desperate Afghans tried to flee.

Seven people died during at Kabul airport. Huge crowds could be seen attempting to board an aircraft, with some people seen to be clinging on to the side of a US plane as it took off.

Mr Kinnock accused the UK Government of not helping those who had risked their lives to assist UK and Western forces as they fought with Taliban insurgents.

He said, "The Prime Minister's actions on this have been a dereliction of duty. Three years ago the Defence Select Committee pointed out that translators and interpreters who had been helping the British Army were not being properly treated.

"Now we see this chaotic approach to what is happening in Afghanistan, it's absolutely heartbreaking.

"The United Kingdom has a moral duty to protect those people, to help them to come out, and so far the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Defence Secretary and Boris Johnson are completely failing to live up to the duty of care that we have to those people."

There have been chaotic scenes across Afghanistan as civilians desperately try to flee Credit: PA Images

The UK Government is set to announce a resettlement scheme for selected Afghans in the coming days, with the policy anticipated to be focused on helping women and girls.

It was also announced that British armed forces numbers are to be bolstered to 900, with a further 200 announced by the Ministry of Defence on Monday.

They will be involved in the push to bring UK nationals home and secure the safety of some Afghan nationals.

Stephen Kinnock was also critical of the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, over his handling of the situation in Afghanistan Credit: PA Images

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The UK team in Afghanistan is working around the clock in incredibly difficult circumstances to help British nationals and as many others as we can get to safety as soon as possible.

"At the same time, we are bringing together the international community to prevent a humanitarian crisis emerging in Afghanistan - it's in everyone's interest not to let Afghanistan fail.

"That means providing whatever support we can to the Afghan people who have worked so hard to make the country a better place over the last twenty years and who are now in need of our help."

Officials said Mr Johnson is calling for high-level international discussions on the unfolding crisis, including using the UK's G7 presidency to call a virtual meeting in the "coming days".

He wants G7 leaders to focus on ensuring Afghanistan does not once again become a source of international terrorist threats, No 10 said.