This morning I went for a walk. It was just one of my usual little trundles over to Charlton, where I was hoping to speak to a couple of people about organisations for the film festival. It was just a typical morning for me in this vast, vibrant city. Yet I can’t help wondering, what if I wasn’t in London but Kabul today? I presume that there are just as many disabled people in Afghanistan as there are anywhere else. Here I am, living independently in one of the world’s great cities, receiving all the support I need and free to trundle in my powerchair. But what would life be like for me in Afghanistan, under a regime as oppressive as the Taliban? Would I be getting the support I need to live? What about the equipment?
Since the Taliban were deposed, living standards in Afghanistan had started to be brought into line with other modern states, and I presume that included rights and support for those of us with disabilities. With the religious nutters back in power, I fear that any such progress now stands to be stripped away. We know that the Taliban persecute disabled people, viewing us as useless and using us for suicide bombings. Whatever the rights and wrongs were of going into Afghanistan in the first place, having spent twenty years helping it develop, hopefully into a modern, functioning democracy, surely we can’t now just abandon it.