City councillor says “chaotic withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan “could have consequences on our own streets here in Sheffield”

A Sheffield councillor says the “chaotic withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan “could have consequences on our own streets here in Sheffield” and is heartbroken that Afghan girls are likely to be denied the right of education.

By Julia Armstrong
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 2:45 pm

Park and Arbourthorne Labour councillor Ben Miskell, who is also a secondary school teacher, said in a statement: “As girls in Sheffield prepare to go back to school and university over the coming weeks, we can’t forget that this is a right likely to be denied to their counterparts in Afghanistan.

“I’m a school teacher by trade and it’s heartbreaking to see that Afghan girls will once again be denied the basic human right of education - which those in Sheffield enjoy each day.

"A Taliban takeover of their country leaves girls and women in Afghanistan living a dystopian nightmare and I really do fear for them.

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Coun Ben Miskell with a class of girls whilst on a visit to Palestine, a region where he says children can also struggle with barriers to their right to education

“We saw what the Taliban did to Malala Yousafzai for having the audacity to be a girl who wants to go to school and get an education.”

He added: “Whatever your views of the 2001 invasion, when I was 18, we now have a responsibility to the people in that country and we can’t abdicate that.

“We in Sheffield should do all that we can to welcome refugees from Afghanistan who are fleeing the brutality of the Taliban and the Government must live up to its obligations towards those Afghans who have served with British representatives so bravely.

“It is clear to me that the chaotic withdrawal of US and UK forces, something which Boris Johnson has refused to speak out against, will make our world a much less secure place and could have consequences on our own streets here in Sheffield.

"Terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda will once again have a safe haven to train and recruit, as they did in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. It’s a complete failure of foreign policy.”

Coun Miskell’s online biography describes him as having a record of standing up for human rights. He also studied politics and international relations at Lancaster University before taking his post-graduate teaching qualification.