The British government is being criticized for its failure to protect Afghan refugees who worked with coalition forces during the war in Afghanistan, The Guardian reported on Monday.
About 6,200 people and their families are eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
The ARAP program has brought over 10,000 Afghans to the UK, and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will allow 20,000 people to settle in the country.
However, as Western allies mark the first anniversary of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the UK is blamed for abandoning many Afghans to persecution at the hands of the Taliban.
Back. General Sir John McColl, who was the first head of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, told BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ that the Secretary for Defense Ben Wallace and the other ministers should “lower their heads in shame”.
McColl described the UK’s evacuation of Afghans as “haphazard” and sometimes prioritizing animals over people.
“The system was broken when we pulled out of Kabul last year and it remains broken. It was a source of shame then and it continues to be a source of shame,” McColl said.
Those eligible for ARAP include people still in Afghanistan and those who have fled, most often to Pakistan, but also to Iran, where strained relations between London and Tehran have hampered the programme’s ability to help people.
Earlier this month, nine expert groups on Afghanistan criticized the government’s resettlement programs as “unjustifiably restrictive”.
They also expressed deep concern over the government’s failure to provide a safe route for Afghan women and girls and oppressed minority groups.
According to Ministry of Defense sources, around 1,050 people evacuated from Afghanistan under the ARAP are living in hotels in Pakistan awaiting processing and transport to the UK or another destination.
However, the department has expressed frustration that many Afghans who are brought to the UK end up, as one senior source put it, “stuck in hotels”.
The ministry source attributed this to the failure of the government to put adequate plans in place.
While only 7,000 Afghans have been relocated, the UK government is still providing hotel rooms to 9,500 people who have sought refuge in the UK, The Guardian reported.
The outlet also said thousands of Afghan refugees had been invited by the Interior Ministry to search for accommodation on the Rightmove and Zoopla websites.
A Home Office spokesman said the UK intended to take in up to 20,000 people in need through ACRS.
“We are already proud that this country has provided housing for over 7,000 Afghan evacuees, but there is a shortage of local housing for all,” they said.
“Although hotels do not provide a long-term solution, they do provide safe, secure and clean accommodation. We will continue to reduce the number of people in relay hotels, moving people to more sustainable accommodation as quickly as possible. . »
The Home Office said local authorities will receive £20,520 ($24,770) per person over a three-year period to support the resettlement of Afghan families, with the option of using the funds in a variety of ways.