| 25 May 2024, Saturday |

UK to welcome 20,000 Afghans amid Taliban takeover

The UK government has pledged that after Taliban seized control of Kabul thousands of Afghan refugees will be resettled in the UK.

The new scheme will provide 20,000 Afghans a route to set up home in the UK in the coming years, of which 5,000 refugees in the first five years will be eligible – with women, girls and others in need having priority.

Home Secretary Priti Patel urged other countries to help, writing in the Daily Telegraph “we cannot do this alone”.

However, opposition parties have criticized the settlement scheme for not going far enough.

The new plan is on top of the existing scheme for interpreters and other staff who worked for the UK.

Some 5,000 Afghans and family members are expected to benefit from that policy.

Parliament has been recalled and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to open a debate in the House of Commons about the situation in Afghanistan from 09:30 BST on Wednesday.

Downing Street said Johnson spoke to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening about the evacuation of Kabul.

The leaders “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”, a spokesperson said.

“The prime minister stressed the importance of not losing the gains made in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, of protecting ourselves against any emerging threat from terrorism, and of continuing to support the people of Afghanistan.”