Afghan refugees will come whether Britain likes it or not – we need to help them

Editorial: It’s inevitable that thousands of people fleeing the Talban will seek asylum in the UK. Now is the time to organise a rational, fair and comprehensive system of resettlement

Tuesday 17 August 2021 16:01
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<p>Escape route: Afghans sit on the tarmac at Kabul airport on Monday </p>

Escape route: Afghans sit on the tarmac at Kabul airport on Monday

It takes no great powers of prescience to work out the likely course of events in Afghanistan over the next few months. What might be termed, with dark irony, the “New Taliban” are rather more media savvy than the regime that was ousted in 2001. They are attempting to reassure their compatriots, and the wider world, that the population is safe and should go about its routine without fear, that is apart from “traitors”.

A general “amnesty” has been announced and women have been urged to join the government – while some ministers and the mayor of Kabul have been asked to stay in post for the time being. Of course, the evidence during their previous period of rule and from their recent successful campaign to take back control of the country suggests they are anything but tolerant and moderate; and that counts for rather more than some of the conciliatory messages.

So there will be refugees. Many thousands of them, already leaving. It is the inevitable legacy of the two decades of struggle to establish a democratic free nation which have now ended so needlessly and ignominiously. They cannot stay in their homeland, and nor can their families, because they know what the Taliban has in mind for them, whatever they may say. They are fleeing for their lives, for they have no choice.

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