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https://www.rt.com/news/580044-uk-politician-taliban-praise/UK politician faces no-confidence vote after Taliban praise

Tobias Ellwood apologized for posting a video hailing Afghanistan’s ‘transformation’ under the hardliners’ rule

Members of the UK’s Conservative Party have launched a bid to remove Tobias Ellwood from his position as chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee after he posted a video on social media praising the Taliban.

In a video and accompanying message on Twitter earlier this week, the Tory MP said Afghanistan was a “country transformed” since the Taliban seized power in August 2021. He added that “security has vastly improved, corruption is down and the opium trade has all but disappeared.” The tweet, which was posted after a recent visit to the south-central Asian country, has since been deleted.

Criticism of Ellwood, a former member of the British Armed Forces himself, was swift. Tory MPs launched a no-confidence motion soon afterwards, with four MPs – two Tories and two from Labour – supporting the motion, according to the minutes of a parliamentary meeting on Wednesday.

One of Ellwood’s critics, Labour MP Kevan Jones, said: “This is not the first time that Tobias Ellwood has made statements which don’t reflect the committee’s stance. This one is beyond the pale.” The 11-member committee is expected to vote on Ellwood’s future on September 14. Six votes would be sufficient to remove him from the position.


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Following the furor, Ellwood backtracked on some of his comments – but suggested that his overarching point was accurate. “I got it wrong,” he told TalkTV of what he described as a “well-intentioned” error. He also added that he stands by comments made in the brief clip in which he criticized the UK government’s lack of engagement with Afghanistan’s rulers.

Ellwood also suggested that the United Kingdom should reopen its embassy in Kabul, and proposed that without outside intervention Afghanistan stands on the verge of economic disaster.

“I saw a very vulnerable economy that will soon collapse without international intervention, turning this country into a failed state, with terrorist camps no doubt returning and triggering mass migration,” Ellwood said in a statement on social media on Thursday.

The Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan has been frequently criticized for the removal of women’s rights in the country – and after drawing scorn in Westminster, women on the streets of Kabul echoed the criticism of Ellwood during a rare protest.

“The British politician says that he is optimistic and he’s happy about the situation in Afghanistan,” the BBC quoted an unnamed Afghan woman as saying on Wednesday. “Today we went on the street to ask for our rights and they try to stop us and beat us.”

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