Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to “do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours” as the UK looks to the US to extend the deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
There is pressure on US President Joe Biden to push back the August 31 target for evacuations from Kabul airport, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admitting in the Mail on Sunday that “no nation will be able to get everyone out”.
Writing in yhe Sun, Ms Patel said: “The UK will not be found wanting. We will do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours.”
It came after the Home Secretary on Wednesday defended plans for a scheme to resettle vulnerable Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
The Government has been accused of not moving quickly enough after it said it would take up to 20,000 refugees, with as many as 5,000 in the first year.
Ms Patel told Sky News the UK “cannot accommodate 20,000 people all in one go”, but then hinted that the scheme could be expanded to admit double the initial figure for the first year.
“There could be up to 10,000. We are expanding categories of people,” she said.
We continue to swiftly process applications under the Afghanistan Relocation & Assistance Policy (ARAP).
Those eligible can apply to the scheme from inside & outside Afghanistan if they're now in another country.
There's no end date to the scheme.
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) August 21, 2021
In the Sun, the Cabinet minister wrote that Home Office staff are “working around the clock” to help bring people to safety.
“I am personally working through cases, in constant contact with our committed team on the ground, helping to co-ordinate an international response,” she said.