Britain on Tuesday introduced a resettlement scheme for Afghans fleeing the Taliban after their return to energy, providing an preliminary 5,000 locations within the first yr, rising to as much as 20,000 in the long run.
The announcement got here on the eve of a unprecedented session of parliament on Wednesday, the place MPs recalled from vacation will talk about the collapse of the Afghan authorities, so quickly after the withdrawal of Western forces.
Some 900 British troops have been despatched again to the Afghan capital to assist repatriate 1000’s of UK nationals, together with embassy employees, following the Islamists’ return.
London mentioned precedence could be given to these most in danger, together with Afghan ladies, kids and others compelled to flee or going through threats and persecution from the hardliners, providing them an opportunity to stay in Britain indefinitely.
“This resettlement scheme shall be stored underneath additional evaluate for future years, with as much as a complete of 20,000 in the long run,” the Residence Workplace mentioned in an announcement.
The scheme is modelled on that which resettled 20,000 refugees from the Syria battle from 2014 to this yr.
Britain was one of many United States’ staunchest allies in president George W. Bush’s “conflict on terror”, launched after the September 11, 2001 assaults on New York and Washington.
Within the restive southern Afghan province of Helmand, Britain had 9,500 personnel and 137 bases alone. And its involvement got here at a price, with greater than 450 troops killed.
However senior politicians and navy high brass have condemned the peace deal brokered by US former president Donald Trump that led to the withdrawal of US-led forces, and gave the Taliban the chance to return, nearly unopposed.
The federal government mentioned it was working with international allies, together with within the “5 Eyes” intelligence partnership with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to determine these most in danger, at the same time as Taliban leaders promised an amnesty and vowed to not take revenge.
‘Debt of gratitude’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson desires an pressing assembly of G7 leaders to stop Afghanistan spiralling right into a humanitarian catastrophe, calling for a “unified method”, and ramped-up help funding.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all those that have labored with us to make Afghanistan a greater place over the past 20 years,” he mentioned.
“A lot of them, notably ladies, at the moment are in pressing want of our assist.”
Residence Secretary Priti Patel, whose household fled to Britain from Idi Amin’s Uganda, mentioned the Afghan Residents’ Resettlement Scheme “will save lives”.
“Our nation has a proud historical past of providing sanctuary to these in want. We is not going to abandon individuals who have been compelled to flee their properties and at the moment are dwelling in terror of what may come subsequent,” she mentioned.
Britain has come underneath fireplace for slicing its international help finances and tightening immigration guidelines after its exit from the European Union, together with for migrants — lots of them from battle scorching spots — crossing the Channel from France.
It has additionally confronted strain to do extra to assist resettle Afghan interpreters who helped the navy after the Taliban was ousted in late 2001.
The most recent announcement is separate from that scheme, which expects to relocate 5,000 former employees and their households by the tip of this yr: 2,000 have already arrived.
Since Saturday, the eve of the Taliban’s seize of Kabul, 520 British nationals, diplomats and former Afghan employees have left Afghanistan on navy flights, the Residence Workplace mentioned.