Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 24 October 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Uddin Baroness Uddin Labour 4:30, 24 October 2001

My Lords, although I am not an expert on the numbers of refugees or on the current situation in Afghanistan but merely an observer and a parliamentarian, would my noble friend respond to the concern that thus far the amount of humanitarian assistance available in particular to vulnerable women and children is about a quarter of what is required? What are the Government doing to make sure that not only this country but others involved in the conflict try to ensure that we provide at least as much food as is required, not only on a daily basis but in the long term?

Also I should like to say that in this conflict the plight of Afghan women has been long forgotten: very little attention has been paid to that aspect. Will my noble friend assure me and your Lordships' House that expertise and sufficient resources will subsequently be made available to Afghanistan when re-building takes place, and that every effort will be made to provide a role model for women's advancement not only for British Muslims but for other Muslim countries--a role model which can withstand the allegation of an imperialist model for the advancement of women that has often been attributed to modernisation of any kind and the intervention of any western countries?