London: The UK has announced that it will welcome as many as 20,000 Afghans under a new resettlement program that will give priority to women, girls and religious and other minorities amid the ongoing crisis in the war-torn country. The new scheme will provide a safe and legal route to Britain to those seen at a high risk of human rights abuses and dehumanizing treatment by the Taliban. About 5,000 people are expected to arrive in the United Kingdom in its first year.
The new plan is on top of the existing scheme for interpreters and other staff who worked for the UK. According to the BBC, some 5,000 Afghans and family members are expected to benefit from that policy. More than 2,000 former Afghan staff and their families have travelled to Britain under the scheme since late June.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that the United Kingdom wants to ensure that as a nation it does everything possible to provide support to the most vulnerable fleeing Afghanistan so that they can start a new life in a safe environment in Britain. “The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will save lives,” Patel added. Further, she also went on to urge other countries to help.
In an article published by Patel in Daily Telegraph, she said, “The UK is also doing all it can to encourage other countries to help. Not only do we want to lead by example, we cannot do this alone”.
Meanwhile, Downing Street said UK PM Boris Johnson spoke to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening about the evacuation of people from Kabul. During the call, Biden and Johnson lauded the military and civilian personnel for their efforts toward helping in the evacuation process of the citizens and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan. Appreciating their bravery and professionalism, they also agreed to maintain close coordination with the allies for future help and support to be given to Afghanistan with the Taliban in charge.
With Johnson holding the presidency of the Group of Seven Wealthy democracies, they have also agreed on a virtual meeting with G7 leaders to be held next week for discussing a common strategy and approach towards the situation. Later, a statement was issued by the UK Prime Minister’s Office. It says that Johnson during the call has emphasized not losing the gains made in Afghanistan so far. He also outlined the plans to be employed for the resettlement of refugees.