'What was it all for?' Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson speaks out as Taliban regain Afghanistan

Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson and his family have been left asking ‘what was it all for?’ as the Taliban prepares to retake control of Afghanistan.

By Darren Burke
Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:06 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:07 pm
Ben Parkinson and his family have questioned the War on Terror after the retaking of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
Ben Parkinson and his family have questioned the War on Terror after the retaking of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Ben suffered horrendous life changing injuries, losing both his legs when his Army Land Rover was blown up by a roadside bomb in the country 15 years ago.

The former paratrooper says he now fears for the Afghan people and has urged the British Government to allow all interpreters and others who helped the British military to enter the UK.

He said he now feared a “bloodbath” and added: ““I’m still alive, though.

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"For the people who lost their sons, it really is such a shame.”

The former Lance Bombardier says he is concerned for the interpreters who have been refused permission to come to Britain.

He said: “The Taliban are threatening their lives. They need to be taken to safety

“They helped us so what’s the point of leaving them to die now?

“We needed their help. They deserve to get to safety now because they are in danger now.

“It’s not just the interpreters. It’s a lot of people.”

The 37-year-old added: “If we leave, they’re going to get hurt. Our friends are going to get hurt.”

Mr Parkinson’s mother, Diane Dernie, said she did not blame President Joe Biden’s decision to pull American troops out of Afghanistan, saying the current situation was “inevitable”.

She said: “As Ben’s said, our thoughts are with the Afghan people because we went in there with good intentions and all we did was make things a thousand times worse.

“Now there seems to be not a single gain. Nothing.

“All the various missions that there were – controlling the drugs trade, helping the government, education for women, infrastructure – all gone. As if they’d never happened.

“You do ask the obvious question: what on earth was it all for?

“The grey men at Ministry of Defence make these decisions. They’re not paying the price.

“Politicians, they’ve come and gone, they’re not paying the price.

“The people who are paying the price are the affected families, those who lost their lives, their families and the guys like Ben who are still paying 15, 16, 17 years later.”

Mrs Dernie said: “You do ask constantly, what was it all for, but you have to put that on one side and say, ‘is anything to be gained by going back again?’.

“So what we would really like to see is 2 Para, they go back in, they do this job of getting everybody out safely, and then we leave.

“Go in, do what needs to be done, and out without a single drop of blood being spilled, hopefully.”