Skip to main content

House of Lords recalled to debate the situation in Afghanistan

19 August 2021

House of Lords chamber during a debate

The House of Lords met on Wednesday 18 August to debate the situation in Afghanistan. 

The debate

The Lord Speaker opened proceedings, placing on record the House's gratitude to all the UK service personnel who have died, been injured and risked their lives during the conflict.

Lord McFall also extended condolences on behalf of the House to those affected by the incident in Plymouth on 12 August, thanking the police, emergency services and members of the public who helped the victims and their families.

During the debate, members pressed the government on a number of topics, including:

  • calling for the ending of hostilities and allowing the departure of Afghan and foreign nationals who wish to leave the country
  • the Afghan relocation and assistance programme (ARAP), support for interpreters, those who have worked with the British Council and other locally employed staff who have assisted the UK in Afghanistan
  • the number of people who will be helped in the new scheme and processing of visa applications
  • humanitarian aid and how it will be provided 
  • human rights, including treatment of women and girls
  • the nature of the US descision to withdraw, working with allies in the region and the UN.

Members taking part

Members speaking in the debate included former senior officers in the armed forces and NATO, diplomats and former government ministers. Members bring a wide range of experience and professional knowledge to question government, press for action and raise issues.

Members taking part included:

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, Leader of the House of Lords, opened the debate.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for Human Rights, Afghanistan and south Asia in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, closed the debate.

The House sat under hybrid rules, with some members participating remotely and some from the House of Lords chamber. 

Catch up

The debate was streamed online on Parliament TV, and you can read a Lords Hansard transcript.

Lords committee report on Afghanistan

The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee published a report on UK-Afghanistan relations in January 2021, warning of the risks of withdrawing troops. 

House of Lords committees investigate public policy, proposed laws and government activity. They investigate broad, long-term issues and publish reports that make recommendations to goverment.

Library briefing

The House of Lords Library produces timely, authoritative and impartial briefings that members and the public can access. Ahead of the recall, the Library produced a briefing article on recent events in Afghanistan.

Image: Roger Harris