Yesterday in the House of Commons, details were given on the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.
John Denham used this opportunity to question the Defence Secretary on how he plans to tackle the oppression of the Hazara community in Afghanistan.
A few weeks ago in the House of Commons there was the first ever meeting of the UK’s Hazara community. As the Secretary of State knows, the Hazaras are a Shi’a minority who have suffered considerable oppression in Afghanistan, going back at least as far as the first British war there, but in particular under the Taliban regime. The Secretary of State has rightly talked about the need for a political solution, but may I urge him and his fellow Ministers from other Departments to ensure that the interests of the minority Hazara community are not lost in the rush to achieve a political settlement?
The Defence Secretary replied:
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for that question, and I will ensure that his concerns about the Hazara community are drawn to the Foreign Secretary’s attention. There is a significant number of minority communities in Afghanistan—it is a fragmented society—and one of the challenges will be to design a future solution that is coherent and promotes having a strong central Government but also respects the many different minority communities in the country.