In the UK, a generation of parliamentarians shaped by Afghanistan

Tom Tugendhat still spent much of the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, August 25, awaiting news from an Afghan interpreter he hopes to evacuate on one of the last British flights from Kabul. The British Conservative MP has been moving heaven and earth for days to obtain the exfiltration of this friend, whom he knew well in Afghanistan. The former serviceman spent four years there between 2005 and 2009, partly as a British soldier, partly as assistant to the governor of Helmand province in the south of the country. ” Of course [le retour des talibans au pouvoir] is something personal to me. I cannot have spent four years in Afghanistan without forging close ties with these people I met every day. “

His colleague Johnny Mercer, another Afghanistan veteran turned Conservative MP, also saw the current Western debacle in his flesh. “I was surprised how affected me and the veterans were. We soldiers are not used to this feeling of waste, regret and sacrifice. “ Between 2006 and 2010, he was sent with British special forces to the country three times. Like Mr. Tugendhat, he is currently struggling to help Afghans obtain visas. “The UK authorities need to verify their identity and I can help put them in touch with soldiers who knew them. “

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The Western rout in Afghanistan served as a reminder that a generation of British parliamentarians was shaped by this conflict. Eight deputies served there under the flags, marked by the heavy tribute of His Majesty’s army: 457 dead and more than 2,200 wounded. Some are Conservatives, others Labor, two are currently Secretaries of State, but all remain united by ties that go beyond political bickering.

The lightness of Boris Johnson

Mr. Tugendhat, a Tory, is very close to Dan Jarvis, Labor and former from Afghanistan. “We met in 2007 in Helmand. When I became a member of Parliament [en 2015], Dan [élu depuis 2011] really helped me find my bearings. I totally disagree with his policy, but the truth is that we are both trying to do the same thing: serve the British people as best we can. “

For this parliamentary class, the unbearable lightness of Boris Johnson goes badly. The British Prime Minister is the very embodiment of the “Westminster bubble”, having spent most of his life near Parliament, from his role as an editorial journalist to his career plans with short-term calculations.

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