The Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and declared the “war is over” on Sunday. Since then, horrifying footage has emerged of people trying to grab hold of aeroplanes and running to board flights out of the country.
Now Colchester Borough Council has stepped forward to say it will resettle a number of Afghan families who assisted British forces during the war.
The authority says it wants to help Afghans, including vulnerable women, to “rebuild their lives” in Essex.
A number of departments are working to find accommodation and health and support services, reports Essex Live.
Cllr Sue Lissimore said: “We are working with the Home Office, Essex County Council and Essex Integration to help a number of former Afghan interpreters and other skilled support staff and their families resettle in the UK.
“We will be supporting them to find accommodation (in the private rented sector) across Essex, linking them up with health and support services, etc and generally assisting them to integrate into the local community.
“These are professional people who have risked their lives helping to support our forces’ efforts in Afghanistan and we are pleased to help them start to rebuild their lives in the UK.”
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has warned “hundreds of thousands” of people are fleeing the situation in Afghanistan because of “serious human rights violations”.
But Colchester’s move to offer assistance has divided opinion online.
Some have celebrated the heroic work of the Afghan families.
“They’ve risked everything, time and again to provide information to our armed forces,” one comment reads.
“Imagine fleeing a horrific situation like that. Hopefully they find some peace in Essex,” says another.
And a third says: “Can’t wait to welcome them. They’ve been through so much and risked their lives and those of their families helping our troops.”
However, others encouraged the council, which has had no overall political control since 2008, to offer more resources to those currently living in Colchester.
One Facebook user posted: “We have our own homeless people that need housing first.”
Another stated: “Why can’t we help the homeless British troops?”
A third user wrote: “It’s disgusting, there aren’t enough homes for British people.”
Plymouth City Council previously announced it is running a similar scheme to help Afghan staff, including translators, interpreters and clerks, who were often exposed to dangerous situations in the conflict.
That move also split opinion with some encouraging the Tory-led authority to provide more housing for homeless people already in the coastal city.