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UK to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees over 5 years

Displaced Afghan families flee northern provinces due to fighting between Taliban and Afghan security in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 10 August 2021 [Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency]
Displaced Afghan families flee northern provinces due to fighting between Taliban and Afghan security in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 10 August 2021 [Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency]

The UK has announced that it will resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees over five years, prioritising women, children and religious minorities.

The Home Office has said that as a target, around 5,000 Afghans will be eligible for resettlement in the first year.

The programme will run parallel to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, under which local staff who worked for the UK Government in Afghanistan, including interpreters for UK forces, will be eligible for relocation.

Roughly 5,000 Afghans and their family members will benefit from this scheme.

In 2014 the UK pledged that 20,000 Syrian refugees would be settled over seven years with priority given to torture survivors, women, children, and people with medical conditions.

The scheme to take people from Afghanistan will be modelled on this system.

Under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme 20,319 Syrian refugees were moved to the UK from camps in the surrounding countries, including Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

READ: Whether it's Afghanistan or Palestine occupations don't last forever

On Sunday the Taliban announced they had taken control of 31 provinces in Afghanistan after forces surrounded the capital over the weekend.

Videos showed people clinging to the wheels of a plane as it took off, whilst another showed a man being hoisted into an open window.

The images brought home the desperation of thousands of people who are trying to leave the country.

British Labour politician Lord Dubs has criticised the Afghan resettlement programme for not going far enough.

Chairman of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood said it was a "woefully inadequate response."

On Tuesday the United Nations said it is concerned about the safety of thousands of Afghans who have worked on human rights in the country in recent years.

Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville has urged the international community to give all possible support to people who may be at risk.

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AfghanistanAsia & AmericasEurope & RussiaUK
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