Kerre McIvor: Should the world help Afghanistan or leave them to their own devices?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Aug 2021, 12:47PM
Afghanistan flag (Photo / Getty Images)
Afghanistan flag (Photo / Getty Images)

Kerre McIvor: Should the world help Afghanistan or leave them to their own devices?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Aug 2021, 12:47PM

What a mess. 

The images of Afghan nationals desperately trying to leave for somewhere, anywhere, as the Taliban approached Kabul was reminiscent of the US leaving Vietnam. 

What a shambles - at a press conference yesterday, the PM said she and key colleagues had been keeping an eye on the situation in Afghanistan as it deteriorated.

And on Sunday, together with the Chief of Defence, they began to put procedures in place to see how they might evacuate both New Zealand citizens and Afghan nationals with Kiwi connections. 

It's those nationals who worked with allied troops and NGOs that are in real schtuck - they are legitimately fearful for their lives. 

There are 53 New Zealanders currently in Afghanistan and around 37 personnel who worked with the NZDF and an in principle; a decision has been made to get them out. 

Great idea, but how on earth are they going to do that? 

You've seen the scenes at the airport, other countries are desperately trying to get their own people out of the place and helping out New Zealand will be far down the list. 

Cabinet has also approved an NZDF Hercules being deployed to Afghanistan along with 40 personnel, although whether they'll get there, what they'll do and how long they'll stay is anybody's guess.

I know the UN peacekeepers don't have a great track record in recent times, but you'd have to wonder whether an international transition force might provide reassurance for the ordinary people of Afghanistan, or whether the Taliban would see it as still more international meddling. 

Nobody who has had anything to do with the country sees it as having a long term peaceful future without the support of external factors, including former PM and UN administrator Helen Clark.