Bassetlaw war veterans 'sacrificed so much to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan”

The mayor of Worksop said his thoughts are with Bassetlaw veterans “who sacrificed so much to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan” after the Taliban took over the country.

By Kirsty Hamilton
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 7:27 pm

Councillor Tony Eaton, who works and supports serving military and veterans as the Armed Forces Champion for Bassetlaw, said veterans did so much to bring peace to Afghanistan in the war.

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His comments come after the takeover by the Taliban in the country over the weekend which saw the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani collapse in just days.

Mayor Tony Eaton with chairman Geoff Hamson at the reopening of Worksop veterans club earlier this year.

Coun Eaton said: “I am thinking about the families of those service men and women who lost their lives and those who have life changing injuries, many of our service personnel struggle with their mental health on a daily basis.

“We should also consider the people of Afghanistan, especially the women and girls who now face new threats with unknown and potentially life changing futures.

“The speed of the pull out and the consequential Taliban takeover has been shocking and we need a greater understanding of why and how this was allowed to happen.”

Ryan Wesley, a veteran from Worksop, who fought in Afghanistan between 2006-2011 said he is disappointed at what has happened.

“It's just one of the things that we all knew as soldiers that one day it would happen,” he said.

"We knew the Taliban would retake the country, but we just didn't think it would happen as quick as what they've done.

“What we did in 20 years, they've done in less than 20 weeks.”

Mr Wesley, aged 33, a former infantry soldier, and his colleagues put water wells in the villages, gave women the choice to go to work, built schools and helped the children have an education that the Taliban would not allow.

“We're soldiers, we didn't fail the people of Afghan. While we were there for two decades, we gave them a bit more freedom,” he said.

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said he was ‘hugely disappointed’ in the situation as he returned to Westminster for an emergency sitting of Parliament on Wednesday.

“We will now focus on evacuating British nationals and those Afghans who have been supporting our efforts and are at threat of retribution from the Taliban,” he said.