Karin Smyth MP warns that Sudan shows that lessons have not been learnt from the fall of Kabul

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has shared her deep concern that the UK Government’s response to evacuating British nationals from Sudan shows that vital lessons have not been learnt from the fall of Kabul and the botched rescue there.

Fighting has erupted in Sudan’s capital city Khartoum and across the country this month as powerful rival military factions battle for control of the African nation and its future.

The sudden slide into violence between the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group called Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stranded thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers in the country, with the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states among those closing embassies and racing to evacuate their nationals.

With UK evacuation efforts now ended, Karin Smyth has stated that it is only right we look at how decisions were made and if the lessons from Afghanistan have been implemented. We know that communications with British nationals have been patchy, that our evacuations started later than many of our allies, and that the government was slow to support British residents.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, warned last Tuesday, the power struggle is not only putting Sudan’s future at risk but also “lighting a fuse that could detonate across borders, causing immense suffering for years”.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“The horrific scenes we watched unfold in Afghanistan were said to be a one off: a failing to never be repeated. But a few months later we have watched British nationals in Sudan be left stranded for days without little to no information from the UK Government on how they will be evacuated.

“I am hugely grateful to the brave and professional armed forces personnel and civil servants who are continuing the evacuation of UK nationals from Sudan. But they are doing so with one hand tied behind their backs. The UK Government has shown itself to be slow to react and even slower to implement the dramatic changes needed following the fall of Kabul.

“There will be a number of Bristolians with family members living in Sudan who are now experiencing concern and worry the likes none of us will ever truly know. When we needed the UK Government to act quickly, like other nations, they didn’t. As we go forward, we will need a root and branch review into how we protect our citizens overseas. Failure to do so will lead to more suffering.”