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Merton Council leader ‘ready to support’ refugees from Afghanistan as Taliban take capital Kabul

By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter

The leader of Merton Council says the authority is “ready to support” refugees from Afghanistan.

On Sunday, The Taliban gained control of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

And the government has now said it will take in 20,000 refugees fleeing from the Taliban – 5,000 of which are planned to be brought to the UK in the first year of the scheme.

Merton Council leader Mark Allison said he has been working with other London councils on the response to the crisis and is now calling on the government to speed up offering help to people who have been displaced.

He said: “London has a long and proud history of offering sanctuary to those in need, and we have concerns for the safety of Afghan women and girls and the long-term impact on children exposed to fear, violence and uncertainty.

“Afghan locally employed staff who have worked for British military forces and the British embassy have already started arriving with their families through the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, and we will work closely with London’s Afghan community and our voluntary sector and national government partners to ensure Afghan refugees get the support they need to recover from the trauma they have lived through and start to rebuild their lives.

“Merton council has always opened its doors to help refugees fleeing unrest, as it did when finding homes for many Syrians during the crisis in 2015 following the civil war in that country.

“The re-settlement of refugees in local communities is a complex issue, and Britain’s plans to ultimately resettle around 20,000 Afghans over the next few years are being coordinated nationally by the Government.

“We stand ready to support and are awaiting guidance on how this will work across London boroughs.”

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