UNITED KINGDOM: Conservative Members of Parliament have initiated a move to remove Tobias Ellwood from his position as the chair of the Commons defence select committee after he shared a video in which he praised the Taliban for supposedly enhancing safety in Afghanistan.
Ellwood attempted to put an end to the controversy, saying he was sorry for his poor communication after his actions infuriated those in his party and military veterans.
In a tweet and accompanying video, Ellwood praised the group that overthrew the government in August 2021, saying, “Security has greatly improved, corruption is down, and the opium trade has all but disappeared.”
Days later, four members of the defence select committee put forward a resolution of no-confidence in an effort to have him removed from the crucial position.
According to the meeting’s minutes, the proposal was supported by two Tories, Mark Francois and Richard Drax, and two Labour MPs, Derek Twigg and Kevan Jones. Although a vote is not scheduled to take place immediately, the Commons will be adjourning for the summer recess on Thursday afternoon.
Following the backlash, Ellwood stated, “The last couple of days have probably been the most miserable as a member of parliament, I got it wrong.”
But Ellwood repeatedly apologised on television and acknowledged the video “could have been much better done.”
The Bournemouth East MP and former army captain said on a British TV channel, “It’s important to put your hand up and acknowledge errors, however well-intentioned.”
“I am sorry for my poor communication. I stand up, speak my mind, try to see the bigger picture and offer solutions, especially on the international stage, as our world turns a dangerous corner. I don’t always get it right,” he said.
While on a tour to India with the defence select committee, Ellwood erased the video and apologised for “poor communication” and “could have been better worded” in his views about Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
The video, which critics claimed had a “wish you were here” vibe and was paired with upbeat music, according to Ellwood, was intended to highlight his campaign for Britain to reopen its embassy in Afghanistan.
Ellwood said he had been drawn to Afghanistan on numerous occasions since losing his brother in the 2002 Bali terrorist bombing following his trip there with the Halo Foundation, which assists in demining former conflict areas.
“During my visit last week, I witnessed something I did not expect to see – an eerie calm and a visible change in security, corruption and opium growth which I felt obliged to report,” he stated.
“But I also saw a very vulnerable economy that will soon collapse without international intervention, turning this country into a failed state, with terrorist camps no doubt returning and triggering mass migration,” he added.
Ellwood, who had faced criticism for downplaying the Taliban regime’s deterioration of women’s and girls’ rights, stated in the statement that he had seen the “increasing restrictions” they were subjected to.
“This suggests our current strategy of shouting from afar after abruptly abandoning the country in 2021 is not working. My simple call to action was to see our embassy reopen again and pursue a more direct strategy to help the 40 million people that we abandoned,” he added.