Call for community to unite in wake of Afghanistan turmoil

A West Yorkshire vicar has called for the international community to come together as the fallout continues from the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan.

Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 7:00 am
Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster

The Taliban has taken over the capital city of Kabul and claimed victory in Afghanistan after almost 20 years of a US-led coalition leading the country.

Thousands of residents and foreign nationals are attempting to flee the country.

Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster, reflected on the memorial service held at the Minster for the six soldiers killed in Helmand in 2012, including Cpl Jake Hartley of Dewsbury.

“It was one of those occasions that stay with you,” he said.

“They were all gifts from God and loved by their family and friends.

“They made the ultimate sacrifice for their Queen and country.

“We now look at our television screens with horror as the Taliban takes control after international armed forces decided to withdraw.

“The human cost of the war in Afghanistan is laid bare to the whole world to see, as troops return to the country they had just left to secure a safe passage for those now trapped in a country back to where it was 20 years ago.

“A humanitarian crisis will follow immediately with great suffering for men, women and children, resulting in huge migration to Europe.

“Now is not the time for recriminations - that will have to wait - but for now, an urgency to come together as the international community through the United Nations and get the best out of this situation we can get.

“Putting the Taliban into a corner they can’t get out of will not result in peace and reconciliation.

"War is never pretty and there is always unfinished business.”

A candle has been lit in the Minster for the people of Afghanistan and British personnel engaged in the current effort to repatriate people to safety.

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