Afghanistan. That went well, didn’t it?

We’re now at the ‘desperate departure’ stage.

After all the lives lost, progress achieved and sacrifices made, we must hope that the Taliban will be true in the longer term to their early assurances made to the Afghan people, particularly women and girls.

I’ve been struck by individual voices that have reached us from that blighted country, often female; measured, dignified, thoughtful and brave.

At this very early stage it looks as if China, of the great powers, might exercise some influence or leverage as the months and years unfold. Meanwhile ‘the West’ is reduced to what? Finger-crossing and finger-pointing, perhaps.

The current chaotic withdrawal by air from Afghanistan isn’t the first in the country’s chequered and volatile history. Back in the winter of 1929/30 the endangered personnel of the beleaguered British Legation, women and children first, were flown out of Kabul in stages using a motley collection of rickety RAF biplanes. A total of 586 people was successfully rescued in that somewhat more orderly, smaller-scale Kabul Airlift, the first large-scale aerial evacuation in history.

Derek Reed, Middlethorpe Drive, York