Kirklees Council pledges to house people fleeing crisis in Afghanistan
Coun Shabir Pandor’s comments come as MPs packed the House of Commons today (Wednesday) for an emergency Parliamentary debate into the situation in the country, which has fallen to the Taliban following the withdrawal of allied forces.
Asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) if the authority would publicly commit to taking in refugees from Afghanistan, Coun Pandor said it was right that individuals that had assisted British forces should be given refuge.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said 20,000 Afghans and family members will be resettled in the UK. She did not specify a timescale.
In the first year 5,000 will be eligible with priority given to women, girls and religious and other minorities.
News reports in recent days have shown harrowing pictures of desperate people flooding airfields and clinging to departing planes.
In response to the LDRS, Coun Pandor said: “Anyone who has been following the news in recent days will understand just how serious and challenging the situation in Afghanistan has become.
“The withdrawal of allied troops has created instability in the country and I urge the UK Government and the international community to step up and develop solutions to stabilise this unprecedented crisis.
“I hope the Government ensures all local authorities are available and asked to support the Afghan refugees and that councils across the country are given the resources they need to provide safety and support.”
He added: “Many of the people arriving in the UK have worked with British forces over the past few years and it’s right that we can offer them a place of safety until they find something more permanent.
“Kirklees is a place of welcome and we are ready to support any humanitarian response to the situation in Afghanistan.
“This will involve working closely with the Home Office and other key partners so Kirklees can help to house and support those whose lives are in danger and at risk.”