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Sadiq Khan to buy back council homes to get Afghan refugees into London


The scheme will help thousands who have fled Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover seek sanctuary, after jihadist extremists seized control of the nation’s capital Kabul on August 15.

Following the seizure, chaos erupted across the area with civilians surging toward the airport and clinging to aircraft leaving the runway in an attempt to flee.

Babies were also seen being passed to guards in hopes of safety, while stampedes and surges of people attempted to board flights leaving the capital.

Extractions are still taking place to evacuate citizens and military personnel in the region, and the Government has committed to resettling 20,000 refugees over time.

The London Mayor, who referred to the situation in Afghanistan as “alarming”, will help councils and housing associations to find accommodation for the refugees across the capital.

He hopes to provide sanctuary to those fleeing the country, “particularly women and children, and religious and other minorities”.

The move will be an expansion of Sadiq Khan’s “right to buy-back fund” which will help councils and boroughs to resettle those affected by the Middle East crisis.

In a letter to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP, the Mayor said: “The unfolding situation in Afghanistan is a tragedy and it is utterly heartbreaking to witness.

“We must do all we can to support the Afghan people during this terrible time and I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment this morning to resettle up to 20,000 Afghans over a long stretch of time.”

He said: “Our city has a proud history of providing refuge to those seeking sanctuary and we again stand ready to help.

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The resettlement effort has already been backed by many including council leaders in Hammersmith and Fulham, Newham and Brent.

Currently the UK government has plans to resettle 5,000 Afghan refugees within a year, one-quarter of the long-term target.

Home Secretary Priti Patel recently stated in a media interview that the UK “cannot accommodate 20,000 people in one go”.

She told Sky News: “We have to ensure we have the support structures throughout the United Kingdom. We will be working with local councils throughout the country, the devolved governments as well.”

She explained that the UK Government is “working quickly on this” and is currently “bringing back almost 1,000 people a day” in what she called “an enormous effort”.

In his plans, Mr Khan has outlined support in areas such as health and education, and supporting social integration in addition to housing support.

He said: “It is essential that refugees can establish a long-term future in the UK, be supported to learn English and skills that enable them to find employment.”

The letter ended with the Mayor recognising and appreciating that “the Government is working round the clock to help avert a refugee crisis.

He reiterated his offer to support them in their attempts to re-home the refugees in what he calls “our open and welcoming city.”

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