Photo: UK MOD

UK government faces criticism for leaving thousands of eligible behind in Afghanistan

The UK government has come under fire for its handling of the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. According to Sky News, more than 3,000 Afghan citizens who qualify for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme remain stranded in the country.

The government has admitted that these individuals are at risk, having supported the UK mission, and are now in danger as a result.

The House of Commons’s defense committee released a report in February, labeling the withdrawal from Afghanistan as a “dark chapter in UK military history” and called for an inquiry into the operation. The government has rejected these calls for a wide-ranging review of the campaign, citing a lack of resources as the obstacle.

The UK government’s refusal to engage in a review has been met with frustration and criticism from MPs, including Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the defense committee, who called for a “thorough public inquiry.”

Mr. Ellwood expressed concern for the safety of British citizens and those entitled to refuge in the UK, stating that they should not be left trapped in conflict zones. He said: “Without a thorough public inquiry, this is a chapter that we won’t have learned from. We can’t change the events that unfolded in August 2021, but we owe it to those Afghans, who placed their lives in danger to help us, to get them and their families to safety.”

UK government has confirmed its commitment to relocating the eligible Afghans, saying “We estimate from records that fewer than 620 Afghans eligible for relocation to the UK under ARAP remain inside Afghanistan. We are committed to finding and relocating them and their family members – approximately 3,075 people in total.”

In 2021, the UK organized a hurried evacuation to get vulnerable Afghans and British citizens out of the country after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, but British officials now confirm that many eligible Afghans have remained inside Afghanistan.