Tobias Ellwood: I got it wrong on Afghanistan clip, says Conservative MP

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A senior Tory has expressed regret for posting a video in which he said Afghanistan had been “transformed” under the Taliban.

Speaking to TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, Tobias Ellwood said he “got it wrong” and has subsequently deleted the clip from Twitter.

He added that the days after he posted the widely-criticised video had been his “most miserable” as an MP.

Mr Ellwood had tweeted the video during a trip to Helmand province.

In the film, the Bournemouth East MP and defence committee chair said corruption in the country was falling and security had improved.

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He praised the appearance of solar panels in Afghanistan and noted that the country’s opium trade had “all but disappeared”.

He also urged the UK to “re-engage” with Afghanistan diplomatically and argued that re-opening the British embassy would be a way to “incrementally” improve women’s rights.

Fellow defence committee member Mark Francois called the video “utterly bizarre” and accused it of “lauding the Taliban’s management of the country”.

Speaking to the BBC, Fawzia Koofi, the first ever female deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament, said Mr Ellwood’s comments showed ignorance of how restricted life had become for Afghan women.

Asked about the video on TalkTV, Mr Ellwood said: “It’s important to put your hand up and acknowledge errors, however well intentioned.

“I stand up, I speak my mind. I try and find solutions especially on the international stage, and I’m very, very sorry that my reflection of my visit could have been much better worded and have been taken out of context.”

Related Topics

  • Tobias Ellwood
  • Afghanistan
  • Taliban

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