>Nick Clegg sent one of his regular e-mails to Liberal Democrat members today, talking about his recent visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He was clearly affected by the devastation he saw in the flood damaged area of Pakistan which has affected the lives of so many people. He wrote:
Yesterday I was in Pakistan where I saw the almost unimaginable impact of the terrible floods. It is almost impossible to appreciate their scale — the affected area is approximately the same size as the UK.
I was deeply moved as I witnessed the flooding from the air. It is sadly clear that it will take years for life in Pakistan to come back to normal. I met with President Zardari and aid agency workers to discuss aid being delivered to Pakistan and what role Britain and the international community can play.
I’m proud that the British people and government have together contributed over £100m to assist the aid efforts. If you would like to donate to the DEC appeal for Pakistan, as I know many people will have done already, you can do so here: www.dec.org.uk
He also talked about his visit to Afghanistan.
It was my second visit to our armed forces in Afghanistan, where I saw again the bravery and professionalism of our troops. Whilst the situation in the country is still difficult, I believe that we are beginning to turn the corner. As the Prime Minister has made clear, British combat troops will leave Afghanistan by 2015 and it is important that by then we have a full political settlement to take the country forward.
I do feel more troubled about how this will all pan out. I don’t know what the answer is, but if talking to the Taliban is on the agenda, the already horrific realities of life for most of the female population (denied education, 80% are victims of domestic violence, forced into marriage, forbidden from working) are hardly likely to get any better. I bristled when I heard Tony Blair’s defence of the Iraq War as being that Saddam had gassed and killed thousands of his own people. Women are subject to domestic torture, rape and oppression that’s hardwired into their daily lives in Afghanistan and it looks like we’re going to leave without improving that. Those women don’t have a voice and it really upsets me to think of how they are forced to live.