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A year ago, the United States, Great Britain and other allies faced one of their most difficult and complex overseas operations while evacuating Kabul, Afghanistan. The British Operation Pit and the United States Allied Air Defense Operation were the largest air evacuation operations in recent memory and the largest of their kind in the United States and Britain. Our operation successfully evacuated more than 138,000 people in two weeks. As Britain's Secretary of State for Afghanistan, I have seen the courage and fortitude of British and American men and women, military and diplomats working together. It is the result of months of meticulous planning and cooperation with international allies, and is a testament to the skill and capability of our military and government personnel.
Our joint commitment to Afghanistan, along with other her NATO allies, was in response to the attacks of 9/11. This horrific act of terror has rocked not only America, but us in the UK, and the people of the free world. We will never forget those who lost their lives on 9/11. And it is only right that we stand with our American friends in our determination to promote peace and stability.
When we deployed to Afghanistan 20 years ago, our primary objective was to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for international terrorism. The West has emerged from Afghanistan since her 9/11.
White House draft memo defending Afghanistan withdrawal
and British aid since 2002 , about $4.25 billion paid. An additional 9.5 million children have been educated through the efforts of the United Kingdom, the United Statesand other allies. Infant mortality rates are declining faster than in any other low-income country, from 87.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 46.5 in 2019.
UK Ministry of Defense (MoD ) shows members of the British Army working to evacuate qualified personnel from Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, Monday, 23 August 2021. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the Kabul evacuation effort had been "reduced to hours instead of weeks" by acknowledging that the UK's involvement would end when the US left Afghanistan. (LPhot Ben Shread/MoD via AP) (LPhot Ben Shread/MoD via AP)
We have made great progress in Afghanistan in the last 20 years
The Taliban assume power As we approach our one year anniversary, we would like to say a huge thank you tothe nearly one million people in the UK and the US. To the nearly 3,000 people who sadly lost their lives and suffered life-changing injuries in Afghanistan. Each man and woman who has died in service since we first began operations, until the tragic death of his 13 American soldiers in the Kabul airport bombing while evacuating, will never be forgotten. Hmm.
For 20 years our military has denied safe havens for terrorists to launch their attacks against the West. It has improved the lives of millions and enabled development that transformed Afghan society.
British officials may have left Afghanistan, but our unwavering commitment to the Afghan people remains unwavering. Since the Taliban came to power, the UK has helped more than 5,000 of his qualified to leave Afghanistan, and this work continues. To this day, Britain is home to British citizens and their families, loyal Afghans, women's rights campaigners, human rights defenders, academics, journalists, judges and members of the LGBT+ community.
We have made every diplomatic effort to establish an inclusive political process in Afghanistan to create a country that works for all. Along with the United States, the United Kingdom has also played a leading role in the humanitarian response to assist the people of Afghanistan. We are a major donor in international efforts to ensure that vital aid helps Afghan citizens, and aid continues to feed and save the lives of millions of Afghans. Delivering life-saving medical services and meeting needs for water, shelter and education. Last fiscal year, she distributed $347 million of her humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan, and this fiscal year she has already delivered $100 million of her $347 million aid pledge. Distributed $70 million. In 2021/22 alone, the UK provided her 4.3 million people with emergency humanitarian assistance for health, water, sanitation, protection, shelter, food, livelihoods and education.
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end. The deteriorating human rights situation is a serious concern, and we are working to ensure that the Taliban live up to their promises. We regularly press the Taliban on their human rights priorities and work with our international partners to lobby against violations and abuses. As the Prime Minister's Special Representative on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict, I am particularly committed to enabling Afghan women to have freedom over their bodies and a say in their own future. is.
This week, I will travel to the United States to meet with our counterparts in the U.S. government and stand with our closest partners to continue to champion equality and security for women and girls. Make sure. Our top priority is to get all girls back in school and help Afghan women get back to work. Educated and empowered women contribute not only to peace and stability, but also to economic development. We will continue to work with our allies to encourage the Taliban to do this.
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The people of Afghanistan are forever bound to our efforts to be a force for good on the world stage. Every day today, the United Kingdom and the United States — partners day and night — will continue to use every means at their disposal to improve the stability and security of the people of Afghanistan. International cooperation is essential to ensure that the gains made in Afghanistan over the past two decades are not lost.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is Minister for South Asia and Afghanistan, North Africa, the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations in the British Foreign Office's & Development Office. He was first appointed on 13 June 2017 as the Prime Minister's Special Representative for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations.