Afghanistan veteran and South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis hits out at President Joe Biden’s comments and calls Taliban recapture ‘catastrophic failure’

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis said he fears for his Afghan colleagues he fought alongside on the battlefield and described them as ‘dead men walking’.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 2:26 pm

Mayor Jarvis, who served in Afghanistan in the Parachute Regiment, said the recapture of the country by the Taliban 20 years after the invasion was a ‘catastrophic failure’.

Speaking in a special debate on the issue in the House of Commons, the Barnsley Central MP also hit out at US president Joe Biden for his comments on Afghan forces and their ‘unwillingness to fight’.

“It was particularly distasteful, and dishonouring for President Biden to make reference to the lack of courage and commitment to Afghan soldiers, who’ve served with such bravery and distinction,” Mayor Jarvis said.

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Dan Jarvis MP.

With his voice breaking at times, Mayor Jarvis who served multiple tours of Afghanistan, had previously said that the swift advances of the Taliban had ex-service personnel like himself question whether the war was worth it.

But he said the country must defend the record of girls being able to attend school in Afghanistan, the ability for women to be elected to parliament and serve in the judicial system.

He added that once the ‘dust has settled’, the government must look at what went wrong.

“Many of us who served in Afghanistan have a deep bond of affection for the Afghan people. I had the honour of serving alongside them in Helmand, we trained together, fought together, and in some cases, we died together,” he said.

“They were our brothers in arms. But I shudder to think where those men are now.

“Many will be dead, others now consider themselves to be dead men walking. Where were we, in their hour of need? We were nowhere.

“That is shameful and it will have a very long lasting impact on Britain’s reputation around the world.

“Ex-service personnel are grappling with the question about whether all of the effort, the sacrifice was really worth it.

“They’re again grieving, for comrades who didn’t come home. But whatever the outcome is in Afghanistan, those men and women and their families should be proud of their service, and we must be proud of them.

“The response from the international community, and from the British government, needs to meet the magnitude of the moment.

Step up the statecraft, engage with international allies and alliances, and with regional partners, and although it is a particularly bitter pill to have to swallow, we must engage diplomatically with a new regime in Kabul.

“It is in our national interest to do so, because right now our armed forces are deployed on an operation to recover UK nationals and other entitled personnel.”