UK to welcome 20,000 Afghans amid Taliban takeover

Thousands of Afghan refugees will be resettled in the UK after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the UK government has promised.

Up to 20,000 Afghans will be offered a route to set up home in the UK in the coming years, the Home Office said.

In the first year, 5,000 refugees will be eligible to settle in the UK – on top of 5,000 Afghan interpreters and other staff who worked for the UK.

Women, girls and others in need will have priority in the new scheme.

Those most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban will also be the focus of the new resettlement scheme.

Parliament has been recalled and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to open a debate in the House of Commons about the situation in Afghanistan from 09:30 BST on Wednesday.

He is expected to use his statement to outline the steps the international community should take to avoid humanitarian disaster in the country.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson spoke to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening about the evacuation of Kabul.

The leaders “resolved to continue working closely together on this in the days and weeks ahead to allow as many people as possible to leave the country,” a spokesperson said.