Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chair of the UK Home of Commons Defence Committee, has come below pleasant hearth. Earlier this week, two Tory and two Labour members tried to oust him after he posted a video by which he praised features of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

The ignorance on show within the since-deleted clip is surprising. In it, Ellwood mentioned that Afghanistan was a ‘nation reworked’ because the Taliban returned to energy two years in the past, after the West’s 20-year intervention got here to an finish. Talking over uplifting music, Ellwood claimed that, since 2021, ‘safety has vastly improved, corruption is down and the opium commerce has all however disappeared’.

The Taliban should not have been in a position to consider its luck. It’s not on daily basis {that a} senior British MP lauds the efforts of an authoritarian, Islamist regime that’s internationally infamous for its brutal enforcement of non secular legislation and its misogynistic remedy of ladies.

As you may need guessed, the rosy image painted by Ellwood’s video didn’t survive contact with the information. The kinder, gentler Taliban he described is a product of his creativeness.

Latest UN reviews have detailed intensive, widespread human-rights abuses below the Taliban since 2021. Individuals are flogged publicly. Opponents of the regime have been executed, detained and shot – as have many directors who labored for the earlier Western-backed regime of Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. And that’s earlier than we even get to all these Britons who’ve been unjustly detained.

Opposite to Ellwood’s declare that safety has vastly improved, Afghanistan is now extensively thought of a protected haven for terrorists. Based on UN specialists, ‘Terrorist teams take pleasure in larger freedom there than at any time in current historical past’. ‘There aren’t any current indicators that the Taliban has taken steps to restrict the actions of international terrorist fighters’, they are saying.

In the meantime, the very small enhancements made to ladies’s rights throughout the Western occupation have now been rolled again solely. Training and work at the moment are little greater than a pipedream for women rising up in Afghanistan in the present day.

So why did Ellwood make all these ridiculous claims about Afghanistan’s progress? Primarily, he appears to be participating in freelance diplomacy. He thinks that Britain ought to recognise Taliban rule, begin diplomatic relations and reopen the UK embassy in Kabul. His reward of Afghanistan’s new rulers appears to have been his opening gambit.

Ellwood’s requires nearer diplomacy are naive to say the least. They’ve understandably been ridiculed by non-Taliban Afghans. They arrive at a time when different nations which have flirted with the brand new Taliban regime are pulling again. Writing within the Spectator, King’s Faculty London educational David Loyn notes that Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran have all not too long ago downgraded their relations, primarily as a result of ‘rising terrorist menace and instability of the [Taliban] administration’.

Following an outpouring of criticism, and along with his chairmanship of the Defence Committee now trying more and more untenable, Ellwood withdrew his remarks on Thursday and deleted the video. ‘It’s vital to place your hand up and acknowledge errors, nonetheless well-intentioned’, he mentioned in his apology. ‘I rise up, I communicate my thoughts. I attempt to discover options particularly on the worldwide stage.’

The issue is that Ellwood has a behavior of proposing extremely daft ‘options’ for tough geopolitical issues. Certainly, his unbelievable Taliban fake pas is much from an remoted incident.

For example, earlier than Ellwood was praising the Taliban, he was urging the UK authorities to maneuver heaven and earth to maintain it out of energy. Again in August 2021, when the West’s disastrous two-decade intervention in Afghanistan was drawing to a detailed, he referred to as for British forces to return for an additional intervention.

Then, because the Kabul authorities collapsed, Ellwood devised a method he thought may save the day. ‘RE-TASK OUR CARRIER’, he tweeted, calling on the federal government to deploy the HMS Queen Elizabeth plane provider ‘to the Indian Ocean’. ‘Our F35’s may help with the evac if required. Little level in having such laborious energy if it’s within the improper place on the improper time’ (sic), he mentioned.

It’s not clear how a lot time Ellwood spent deliberating his grasp plan, or what number of specialists he consulted earlier than saying it on Twitter. He appeared to neglect that Afghanistan is a landlocked nation – and thus not very amenable to plane carriers. He additionally appeared to neglect that F35s, being fighter jets, are usually not very effectively fitted to evacuating massive numbers of individuals.

In any case, if fighter jets had been deployed from the Indian Ocean to hold their ‘laborious energy’ all the way in which to Kabul, they’d have wanted to fly by means of Pakistan’s airspace. On the time, Pakistan was broadly supportive of the Taliban takeover. In August 2021, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s then prime minister, praised Taliban fighters for breaking ‘the shackles of slavery’ by taking Kabul. Nonetheless, Ellwood has by no means let his geopolitical ignorance get in the way in which of grandstanding.

Final yr, Ellwood made an altogether extra harmful intervention when he referred to as on Britain and its NATO allies to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion. If enacted, this could require NATO forces and fighter jets to shoot down Russian air belongings over Ukraine. This may commit Britain and NATO to conflict with Russia and would tremendously improve the chance of nuclear armageddon. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and Ellwood’s reckless calls for have been rebuffed. Ignoring his recommendation has made the world a safer place.

You may need thought that after making so many apparent blunders, Ellwood may need paused and mirrored a bit earlier than intervening on the world stage but once more. However, as his disastrous Taliban video reveals, he’s as decided as ever to stay his nostril into worldwide affairs, whatever the penalties.

Ellwood has made himself a helpful fool for the Taliban – and a legal responsibility for the UK.

Charlie Peters is a author. Comply with him on Twitter: @CDP1882