Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech at refugee camp on Pakistan’s Afghan border

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Nasir Bagh, Pakistan
Source: Thatcher Archive: speaking text
Editorial comments: 1135-1225 local time.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 355
Themes: Foreign policy (Asia), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

I listened to you with mounting feelings of sadness and anger.

Sadness because I meet you all here, in a refugee camp in Pakistan, instead of your own homes in Afghanistan.

Sadness because of what you have lost—your homes, your fields, your possessions, your way of life.

Anger because so many hundreds of thousands of innocent people—parents and children, old and young—are suffering. Not through any fault of your own but because a super-power has invaded your country, assaulted your independence and driven you from your homes with aircrafts and tanks.

But I listened too with admiration. You left your country because you refused to live under a godless communist system which is trying to destroy your religion and your independence. [end p1] The hearts of the free world are with you—and with those of your countrymen who have stayed behind in Afghanistan.

The bravery and proud independence of the Afghan people are legendary. The British people know these qualities through their history. The Soviet Union has come to know them too in these last two years. Surely they now realise what we already knew. The Afghan people will never submit to foreign tyranny. They will fight to the end until the invader is expelled from Afghanistan.

We are doing our best, as are other friendly countries, to help the Pakistan Government to make life easier for you during this difficult period. Today I am making available another two million pounds of aid as a contribution to the refugee relief programme. [end p2] We in Britain will continue to help you in every way we can.

But helping you live here is no substitute for trying to help you to return to your own homes to live in peace and freedom—in your own villages—among your own people. That we shall also try to do. We shall continue, together with Pakistan, the Islamic Conference, the non-aligned movement, with the vast majority of the world's countries, to work for a solution to the problems brought about by the invasion of your country.

I hope that we shall not have to meet here again. I want the next time we meet to be in free and independent Afghanistan. I shall work, hope and pray for that day.