Afghanistan: Garraway grills Healey over Labour ‘exit plan’
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The columnist mocked Lisa Nandy for claiming on BBC Question Times last week that John Healey had raised the issue of Afghanistan “a number of times”. She said: “My colleague John Healey who is the shadow defence secretary has raised a number of times over the last few months.” But Mr Chorley noted that it is not true.
The Times Radio host said: “That’s just not true. John Healey hasn’t raised it a number of times.
“He’s mentioned Afghanistan twice in the House of Commons since April.
“Once when a Conservative MP secured a government statement on it on April 20 and once on his own initiative of July 5.
“He hasn’t tabled a single written question on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, that’s not a number of times.”
He added: “Lisa Nandy hasn’t tabled a single written question on Afghanistan which the government would have to answer.
“She also didn’t raise Afghanistan on foreign office questions on April 20, June 15 or July 20 again, all within her gift.”
Mr Chorley continued: “Sir Keir Starmer has also not raised it at all at any week of Prime Minister’s questions despite again the choice being entirely of his own choosing.
“In fact the Labour MP who has been the most active on the subject of the withdrawal from Afghanistan might well be Tan Dhesi who has tabled nine questions to ministers on it and he’s the shadow rail minister.”
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It comes as the RAF still needs to airlift out of Kabul nearly 2,000 Afghan interpreters and other staff who worked for Britain as the evacuation operation enters its final days.
They have been assessed as eligible under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) and have passed security checks but remain on the ground, the PA news agency understands.
Latest figures from the Minister of Defence put the number of people airlifted out of Afghanistan since the Taliban swept to power at more than 10,000.
But the end of the operation is rapidly approaching after US President Joe Biden rejected calls from Boris Johnson and other allies to delay his August 31 withdrawal date for the remaining American troops.
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As well as the almost 2,000 people eligible under Arap, an unidentified number of “special cases” may be eligible for evacuation, such as LGBTQ advocates, judges and human rights activists.
The number of British citizens who still need evacuating, as well as those who hold dual citizenship, also remained unclear.
A total of 10,291 individuals, including more than 5,500 Afghans and their families, have been evacuated by Britain since August 13, as the Taliban was making its rapid advance towards Kabul following the major departure of US troops.
The MoD said on Wednesday morning that 1,833 had been airlifted in the previous 24 hours.
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