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UK Urges Nations to Share Burden: Britain to Accept Only 5,000 Afghan Refugees this Year

UK Urges Nations to Share Burden: Britain to Accept Only 5,000 Afghan Refugees this Year
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By Staff, Agencies

The UK government is ready to take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over five years – but only 5,000 in the next 12 months – as London calls on other countries to assist relocation efforts following a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the UK owes a “debt of gratitude” to Afghans who worked alongside British personnel, as his government unveiled plans to take in thousands of refugees from the war-torn nation in the coming years. 

“Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help. I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK,” Johnson said.

In an op-ed about the new plan, the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the effort would mirror the UK’s relocation of Syrian refugees in years past, adding that it would come in addition to a separate initiative to “bring Afghan nationals into the country who have supported the UK Government in Afghanistan.”

Patel said that under the latter scheme, around 2,000 former Afghan staff and their families had been resettled in the UK, with more set to come. However, the home secretary also insisted London “cannot do this alone,” calling on other nations to follow suit and open their doors to refugees. 

“Our international engagement is significant – the Prime Minister has spoken to international partners including the German chancellor, the French president and the secretaries general of NATO and the UN,” she wrote, saying she had also led discussions with the UK’s Five Eyes intelligence partners, which includes the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The British plan has already proved controversial for some observers, with journalist Otto English questioning the 20,000-person cap, asking “will [Johnson] simply slam the door in the face of refugee 20,001?”

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