Lincolnshire councils to take in 14 Afghan refugee families
Lincolnshire councils will take in at least 14 Afghan refugee families in response to the crisis in the country.
The government, which has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 Afghan refugees, with 5,000 in the first instance, has requested support from all local authorities throughout the country.
It comes after the Taliban tore through the country, taking hold, after troops from the UK and USA and other allied forces withdrew following 20 years there. A Stamford soldier severely injured in Afghanistan has given his reaction to the crisis.
The leader of South Kesteven District Council, Kelham Cooke (Con), said the council supported Government efforts and had offered to resettle two families from Afghanistan.
He said: “There are those whose lives are in danger because they helped British forces personnel, and others, in Afghanistan and it is right that we do all we can for them now that they need our assistance.
“If they stay in their own country they will undoubtedly face persecution and we are happy to help them start a new life in South Kesteven.”
South Holland District Council leader Councillor Gary Porter (Con) told BBC Radio Lincolnshire today (Friday, August 20) that his district was looking to resettle two interpreters and their families in their area.
He said: “Clearly there’s a strong moral obligation why the UK needs to make sure that the interpreters families are kept safe.”
North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright (Con), the county’s lead for the East Midlands’ Regional Migration Partnership, said: “At the moment we’re all [six other districts] looking to definitely match South Holland”.
He said more could be offered if the housing is available to do so, and that he had been pushing for more to be done for a while now.
Councillor Wright, a former member of the armed services, said those who had assisted forces personnel in Afghanistan had fulfilled “vital roles”.
“Those are people that have supported our forces out there in a mission which was all about supporting our country,” he said.
“We have a great debt of honour to support those people.
“They are coming with skill sets and they are people that are wanting to integrate, they will be a great addition to Britain, not a burden.”
He had previously said: “Having supported our own and Nato member forces, they have now lost everything. I am sure, all things being equal, they would have preferred to stay in their own country, but for the fact this would inevitably mean facing persecution. Having risked their lives working alongside British forces, we owe it to them to offer them assistance, safety and resettlement. As local authorities working together, we are proud to do so.”
Latest reports from the country have suggested the Taliban are searching for Afghan people who worked for Nato forces or the previous government.
“There’s two choices for these people,” said Coun Wright. “They come here and we get them out, or from what I’m seeing on the news reports, they’re already being hunted down and the end result is death for them.”
A spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council also confirmed the authority had responded to indicate its support for the government’s efforts but gave no indication of numbers.
Rutland County Council is also working to support families who are in immediate danger after serving with the UK Government and British troops in Afghanistan.
For over 20 years, British soldiers were given support by thousands of locally employed staff in Afghanistan, many of them acting as interpreters and translators. As forces withdraw, workers and their families are left vulnerable and at risk of being targeted by the Taliban.
Local authorities have been asked to support the Government’s efforts to work at pace to relocate around 3,000 people, or 600 families, across the country.
Chief Executive of Rutland County Council, Mark Andrews, said “Rutland County Council is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the safety of interpreters and other locally employed staff who risked their lives supporting British forces in Afghanistan.
“We have a long history of ties to the armed forces and supporting asylum seekers here in Rutland, and we recognise the debt of gratitude we owe to these people. We are working proactively with our partner agencies to find solutions to issues such as local housing capacity in order to help these people safely through this unimaginable situation.”
Rutland County Council are working in partnership with councils and services across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to establish and deliver support as part of the Government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).