A new resettlement plan could see the UK take in as many as 20,000 vulnerable Afghan refugees in the coming years, it has been announced.
The UK Government is aiming to resettle up to 5,000 Afghans in the UK in the first year of the scheme, after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan this week. It is understood that priority will be given to religious and minorities, women and girls, and those most at risk of human rights abuses.
The scheme is to be kept under review – and some critics have argued that the UK should make a bigger commitment, especially due to Britain’s military involvement in Afghanistan over the last two years.
The scheme was revealed ahead of MPs heading to Westminster tomorrow, as Parliament is recalled to discuss the UK Government’s response to the situation in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday evening, Boris Johnson spoke with US President Joe Biden regarding the current situation. In a statement, Downing Street said;
“The leaders welcomed US and UK cooperation in recent days to help evacuate our nationals, current and former staff, and others from Afghanistan. They resolved to continue working closely together on this in the days and weeks ahead to allow as many people as possible to leave the country.
“The Prime Minister and President Biden agreed on the need for the global community to come together to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister outlined UK plans including increased humanitarian aid to the region and resettlement of refugees.
“The Prime Minister stressed the importance of not losing the gains made in Afghanistan over the last twenty years, of protecting ourselves against any emerging threat from terrorism and of continuing to support the people of Afghanistan.
“The Prime Minister and President looked forward to discussing this issue further at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders in the coming days.”
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, the Taliban held a news conference, saying they wanted ‘the world to trust us’.