August 20, 2021 11.58 am This story is over 33 months old

“We have a debt of honour” to support Afghan families, says Lincolnshire council leader

‘They will be a great addition to Britain’

Lincolnshire councils will look to take in at least 14 Afghan refugee families in response to the crisis in the country.

The government, which has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 Afghan refugees, with 5,000 in the first instance, has requested support from all local authorities throughout the country.

It comes after the Taliban tore through the country, taking hold, after troops from the UK and USA and other allied forces withdrew following 20 years there.

South Holland District Council leader Councillor Gary Porter told BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Friday that his district was looking to resettle two interpreters and their families in their area.

Speaking to Local Democracy Reporters afterwards, North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright, the county’s lead for the East Midlands’ Regional Migration Partnership, said: “At the moment we’re all [six other districts] looking to definitely match South Holland”.

He said more could be offered if the housing is available to do so, and that he had been pushing for more to be done for a while now.

Councillor Wright, a former member of the armed services, said those who had assisted forces personell in Afghanistan had fulfilled “vital roles”:

“Those are people that have supported our forces out there in a mission which was all about supporting our country,” he said.

“We have a great debt of honour to support those people.

“They are coming with skill sets and they are people that are wanting to integrate, they will be a great addition to Britain, not a burden.”

He had previously said: “Having supported our own and Nato member forces, they have now lost everything. I am sure, all things being equal, they would have preferred to stay in their own country, but for the fact this would inevitably mean facing persecution. Having risked their lives working alongside British forces, we owe it to them to offer them assistance, safety and resettlement. As local authorities working together, we are proud to do so.”

Latest reports from the country have suggested the Taliban are searching for Afghan people who worked for Nato forces or the previous government.

“There’s two choices for these people,” said Councillor Wright. “They come here and we get them out, or from what I’m seeing on the news reports, they’re already being hunted down and the end result is death for them.”

South Holland District Council leader, Lord Gary Porter.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Councillor Gary Porter said: “Clearly there’s a strong moral obligation why the UK needs to make sure that the interpreters families are kept safe.”

A spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council also confirmed the authority had responded to indicate its support for the government’s efforts but gave no indication of numbers.

North Lincolnshire Council has been asked for comment.

It comes after a Lincoln schoolgirl spoke out about her fears for family in Afghanistan.