Livid London MP slams ministers for ‘abandoning’ five British children hiding from Taliban in Kabul
A furious London MP slammed ministers on Tuesday for “abandoning” five British children in Kabul under the Taliban’s brutal rule.
Twickenham MP Munira Wilson tore into the Government for not getting them out of the increasingly poverty and hunger stricken country.
Clearly livid, she challenged Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer to ensure the Government acted to rescue the children, whose uncle lives in her constituency.
“The minister has said at least three times in his statement that we will honour our commitment to those who remain in danger in Afghanistan.
“While that may be true for him personally, I’m afraid as far as this Government goes that promise is utterly hollow.
“I challenge him to come to my surgery and look the Afghan families, whose families have been left behind, in the eye and say that.”
The Liberal Democrat MP added: “In particular, three weeks in a row in this Chamber, I have now raised the case of five British children under the age of 18 who have been abandoned in hiding in Kabul.
“Their mother is an Aghan national. There is no safe and legal route for her to apply for.
“Their British father was blown up by the Taliban.”
She called for a route out of Kabul for the children, challenging Mr Mercer or “will he admit that they have just given up on them”.
Former soldier Mr Mercer responded: “My presence here today indicates that we clearly have not given up on these people.
“It’s incredibly difficult to get people out of Afghanistan.
“Nobody is happy with what has happened in that country.
“We have opened up ACRS (Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme) and ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) applications to third countries and I would encourage people to apply to that to get themselves on the scheme and we will do everything we can to see through our duties.”
Just over 10,000 applicants have been resettled as part of the ARAP scheme, according to a Freedom of Information request.
The scheme was established in April 2021 to relocate those who worked for, and alongside the UK Armed Forces as the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan following the West’s chaotic withdrawal from the state.
In August that year, the Taliban swept into Kabul, quickly seizing total control of the city, leaving many Afghans who wanted to leave stranded under its hardline rule.
A Freedom of Information request from the Standard showed that the ARAP scheme had received 119,305 applicants as of June 30, 2022.
Of that number, just 10,158 eligible personnel had been relocated to the UK as of July 22, 2022, the Ministry of Defence said.
In order to qualify for the scheme, applicants must be able to prove that they were employed by the UK and are at an imminent or high risk to life, or if they provided linguistic services to the Armed Forces.
If successful, applicants will be able to bring certain family members with them and be given permanent residency, the MoD states.
In addition to ARAP, the UK also launched the the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme in January 22, 2022.
ACRS hopes to relocate 5,000 citizens in the first year and 20,000 over the years it is operational.
This scheme focuses on women and children, with the first family arriving in January 2022.
Approximately, 18,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by the UK as the Taliban swept back to power.
Desperate people besieged the airport to try to get a flight out of the country which under the Taliban is now seeing widepread food shortages, girls banned from secondary schools and universities, and a brutal regime imposed.