A Conservative MP has said Afghan women are being “gaslighted” by male leaders in the UK who “accept the Taliban’s PR”.
Wealden MP Nus Ghani shared her “heartbreak” on Wednesday night after “exhausting every route” to give people “safe passage” out of the country following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul.
The UK is following a 31 August deadline for evacuations, but there have been reports the mission could end as soon as today.
The Taliban’s takeover has led to major concerns about women’s rights, and safety, in the country. Working women were told to stay at home earlier this week as a “very temporary measure”.
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Foreign secretary Dominic Raab is among those who have conceded the Taliban has “lived up to some of the things that they have said” – though he added trust in the militant group is at “rock bottom”.
Sir Mark Lyall-Grant, ex-UK ambassador to the UN, also said on Thursday that the Taliban has been relatively “disciplined” compared to previous regimes.
As she accused male officials of "gaslighting" Afghan women on Wednesday, Ghani linked back to a Policy Exchange article published last week in which she wrote: “Knowing what we know, it is remarkable that some in senior positions here in the UK are now stating that the Taliban have changed and perhaps we should just wait and see.
“Please note not a single Afghan woman has shown the same confidence, as they are told to stay at home and consider marriage over education.
“So how have these western men ended up doing the Taliban’s PR? Have they once again swallowed their intelligence briefings, lacking any understanding of the Taliban’s motivations and ideology, or is it naïve out-of-touch optimism?”
She went on: “We need to create a word for gaslighting when the victims are 19 million Afghan women.
“As we are told by men in authority we need to wait and see, I am called about a headmistress hiding with her four daughters as she waits for the Taliban hitman along with judges, businesswomen and anyone tainted by association of working with us.”
On Thursday, the UK’s attention appeared to shift to the threat of another group, Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), and the possibility of a terror attack at Kabul airport as the evacuation deadline looms.
Boris Johnson said the “overwhelming majority” of eligible people have now been evacuated from Afghanistan, but he conceded the time left is now “quite short”.
Watch: Minister warns of potentially 'very imminent' terror attack in Kabul