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Afghanistan

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 30 November 1982

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Q53.

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards providing help to the victims of Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.

We feel deeply the terrible suffering inflicted on the people of Afghanistan as a result of the Soviet military intervention. We have given full support to the successive United Nations resolutions on Afghanistan, which call for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops, the restoration of Afghanistan's independence and non-aligned status, self-determination for the Afghan people and the return of the refugees in safety and honour. We remain committed to the search for a political settlement and consider that the European Council proposals of 30 June 1981 for a conference in two stages continue to offer a suitable framework for such a settlement. Meanwhile, we continue to draw attention to the plight of the Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries to ensure that they are not forgotten by the international community. Since January 1980, the United Kingdom has given or pledged more than £10 million of cash and food aid to Afghan refugees in Pakistan. On 14 November, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, announced a further £1 million of aid for relief work amongst the refugees. In addition, the BBC has agreed to double its Pashto broadcasts to half an hour daily. This increase will be introduced around the turn of the year.