Bromley Council will support a “limited number” of Afghan refugees to resettle in the borough if requested by the Government to do so.
The arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, and with it the expectation of a strict new regime, has led to desperation for many to leave the country, particularly those who have worked alongside British or American forces and fear reprisals.
Conservative Council leader Colin Smith praised the Government’s plan to resettle 20,000 refugees, but stopped short of making an outright commitment to rehome refugees in the borough.
A spokesperson clarified that “the council will support a limited number of Afghan refugees if the Government requests us to do so.”
Councillor Colin Smith said: “No one who has watched the distressing scenes unfold over recent days can fail to have been moved so offering our support is the right and decent thing to do.
“They were there for our brave armed forces when the chips were down, and it is now time to repay that debt of honour.
“I call on all council leaders the length and breadth of the UK to do likewise and step up at this time of critical need to share the challenge as evenly as possible between us all.
“The current situation will obviously develop and change over coming days and we are ready to have further dialogue with government about their exact requirements if and when that were to become necessary.”
The Government’s plan is modelled on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, which resettled 20,000 Syrian refugees over a seven-year period from 2014 to 2021.
Bromley Council did not take in any of the 1,109 Syrian refugees rehomed in London under the programme.
Lewisham Council, which welcomed 33 Syrian families under the scheme, has already expressed its willingness to rehome Afghans, offering the borough as a “sanctuary”.
Greenwich Council, which took in 19 Syrian families, has also pledged to resettle refugees fleeing the country.
Priti Patel said the Government wants to avoid Afghan refugees travelling to the UK unsafely, including crossing the English Channel.
The Home Secretary said the UK is “dedicated” to helping those who do not escape Afghanistan as part of the UK’s withdrawal before August 31, as she visited Heathrow Terminal 4 where a plane carrying 369 refugees arrived on Thursday morning.
Heathrow has been used as a refugee processing centre since Tuesday, with between five and six flights a day carrying more than 1,000 refugee passengers between them arriving at Terminal.
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