MP blasts government as relatives of Norwich people left in Afghanistan

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said PFIs should be reviewed. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Images

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

An MP who was trying to help get people with links to Norwich out of Afghanistan has said he has heard nothing from them since airlifts from the country ended.

And Clive Lewis has criticised the way the government handled the response to the crisis, as it emerged thousands of emails detailing urgent pleas for help to evacuate Afghans went unread.

Mr Lewis had been growing increasingly concerned about the safety of two relations of city constituents.

The Norwich South Labour MP said the pair, who had been working as translators in Kabul, had told his office they were having to hide, with the Taliban knocking on doors.

He has not heard from them since Friday and fears they did not make it out on one the final flights from Kabul.

He said he fears they will now face having to make their way out of Afghanistan to the UK via a third country.

A baby being lifted across a wall at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan by US soldiers.

A baby being lifted across a wall at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan by US soldiers. - Credit: AP

And it comes as The Observer newspaper revealed thousands of emails to the Foreign Office from MPs asking for help to get people out of Afghanistan had not been read.


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Mr Lewis, who served with the Territorial Army in Afghanistan, said: "This appalling revelation shades from neglect into cruelty. What a dreadful way to treat the worried sick families of people desperately trying to seek safety.

"From multiple failures in pandemic to their supposed commitment to 'levelling up', we've seen exactly this kind of window dressing time and time again with this government.

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"It's not just incompetence, it's part of a systematic and ideological disregard for the old values of public service.

"As the old saying goes, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck."

A Foreign Office spokesperson told The Observer: “We have been working tirelessly to evacuate over 15,000 people from Afghanistan in the last two weeks.

"We deployed a 24/7 cross-Whitehall team based in our crisis hub to triage incoming emails and calls from British Nationals, ARAP applicants, and other vulnerable Afghans.

"“We always cautioned that the nature of the security situation in Afghanistan and our responsibility to keep our people safe meant that we would not be able to evacuate everyone we wanted to."

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