UK shadow foreign secretary arrives in Kabul

Britain’s shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, arrived in Kabul on Wednesday to highlight the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Lammy is the first senior British politician to visit the country since the west’s chaotic withdrawal last August. He is being accompanied by Preet Gill, the shadow minister for international development.

“The UK’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer was a total disaster,” Lammy said on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Today I am in Kabul to raise awareness of the millions of Afghanistan’s civilians who are suffering from starvation.”

Lammy added that the UK ministers must “urgently set out a strategy for engaging with Afghanistan to support the millions of civilians who are starving, restore the 0.7% commitment to international aid, and lead the world by convening an emergency global food summit with the UN.”

Afghanistan has around 3.4 million people displaced within the country, according to UN data, and around 2.6 million refugees outside the country.

The economic situation is dire in the country with roughly 23 million people experiencing acute hunger and 95% of the population not eating enough food, according to the U.N.

In March, the UK hosted an international donor conference after the UN appealed for $4.4 billion, but only $2.44 billion was pledged at the meeting.

“The government downgraded the UK’s international reputation and made the whole world less safe with its calamitous handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer,” Lammy said as quoted by the Guardian. “Today millions of Afghanistan’s civilians are suffering from starvation, with some even forced to sell body parts to feed their families.”