The charity Glasgow Afghan United has penned a letter to Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood expressing “serious concern” and urging him to “consider the wider implications” of a video he posted in which he credited the Taliban for improving safety in Afghanistan.

Ellwood, who is Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, received backlash from politicians and activist groups over his brushin over of the breakdown of women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Tory MP called on the UK to reopen its embassy in Kabul, saying that since the Taliban’s retaking of power in 2021 “security has vastly improved, corruption is down and the opium trade has all but disappeared”.

Abdul Bostani, the Managing Director of Glasgow Afghan United has invited Ellwood to travel to Scotland to meet with members of Glasgow’s Afghan community to hear their concerns about the current situation of their country under the Taliban. The group’s letter ends by telling the MP “we will be happy to host you at our offices in Glasgow at a time of your convenience.”

According to Bostani, Ellwood's comments have provoked “serious concern and indeed anger amongst the Scottish Afghan community, many members of which were forced to flee their homeland as a direct result of Taliban threat.” 

Read more: Afghan refugee living in hope he will not be homeless after hotel move deadline

The letter, which does also thank Ellwood for his interest in Afghanistan, also puts to him: “You cannot be so unaware of the recent history of Afghanistan that you do not know that the Taliban was responsible for countless violent attacks on civilians at mosques, markets and more.

“There is not a single member of our skilled, talented community who does not have loved ones remaining in Afghanistan under the heel of the Taliban. They are terrified for their friends and family; in many cases, they fear for their lives.” 

Bostani writes: “Mr Ellwood, I urge you to consider the wider implications of your statement and to reconsider the call you have made. Even tacit support for the Taliban can have dangerous consequences and could empower repressive regimes in other countries to act with impunity.”

Read more: Vulnerable Afghans could end up homeless, Government warned

Glasgow Afghan United is a charity which provides support for Afghans living in Glasgow from English language provisions to mental health support and building inter-community relations. The letter describes the long-term support needs of the Afghans it serves, stemming from the trauma they have experienced, as being “exacerbated for many by the stress they have in worrying about their parents, siblings, cousins and even children trapped by a regime that cares only about power and its narrow agenda.”

Charities and human rights bodies are increasingly concerned about the status of women in Afghanistan, with the Taliban having banned females from attending university, working, visiting parks and gyms amid other curtailments of rights. 

Ellwood, who reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the British Army and has served as a defence minister, has since deleted the video and apologised, stating that the comments “could have been better worded” and that he “got it wrong”. 

Four members of the Defence Select Committee have now tabled a motion of no confidence in Ellwood as its chair, which is the first time the motion has ever been used against a select committee chair since the positions began to be elected in 2010.