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The UK is reportedly preparing to take thousands of refugees fleeing Afghanistan.
According to The Times, Priti Patel is drawing up plans that would see those escaping the new Taliban regime granted direct safe passage from Afghanistan to the UK. The scheme would be separate to the existing asylum system.
Under the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, the UK has relocated almost 3,000 Afghans who worked for the UK government since 2014.
On 4 August, the government said it was committed to relocate a further 500 families, or 2,500 people, as soon as possible.
Watch: British nationals evacuated from Afghanistan arrived in UK
It also said that the scheme would remain open indefinitely thereafter for all those who qualify and that there would be no quota or cap on total numbers.
However, there have been concerns as to whether the UK is prepared to relocate Afghans who were employed by a contractor rather than by the government directly.
The reports come after the Home Office denied reports it would not welcome Afghans because it could “send the wrong message to other refugees”.
Reports at the weekend claimed senior military officials had said the government department was reluctant to give asylum to those from Afghanistan because of how it could be perceived by other refugees.
It comes as the country has fallen to the Taliban, prompting expectations that hundreds of thousands will flee the country.
But in a tweet on Tuesday, the Home Office refuted the claims, calling them "categorically incorrect".
“The Home Secretary @pritipatel spoke only on Friday about the huge amount of work being undertaken to bring people safely to the United Kingdom," it said.
Priti Patel said on Friday an "enormous resettlement programme" to relocate British nationals and Afghan nationals who have helped the UK government, was a "priority".
She added: “What we are witnessing in Afghanistan right now is absolutely unprecedented.”
The latest development comes as several Tory MPs criticise the government for its handling of the crisis.
John Baron, Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay, has called for Boris Johnson to apologise to veterans and families who lost loved ones.
Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP for Bournemouth East, described chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as "Saigon 2.0", referencing evacuations in 1975 as the North Vietnamese army captured the city and ended the Vietnam War.
Watch: How did the UK's involvment in Afghanistan begin?
In a tweet, he said: "Is this how we thought we'd depart Afghanistan? I repeat my call for a UK inquiry."
Nus Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden, told the BBC: "In one fell swoop we've taken the country back 20 years."
Crossbench peer and former cabinet secretary Lord Sedwill warned this was "a humiliating moment for the West".
Meanwhile, Graham Knight, father of 25-year-old RAF Sergeant Ben Knight, who was killed when his Nimrod aircraft exploded in Afghanistan in 2006, said: "As for whether people's lives were lost through a war that wasn't winnable, I think they were."
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there was an "obligation" to those in Afghanistan who had helped the UK effort.
Speaking on a trip to Wolverhampton, he said: "We need to get UK nationals out, but we also have an obligation to all of those Afghans who helped and assisted the UK, and we shouldn't have nice distinctions between this type of person, this type of help, and that type of help.
"If those in Afghan have helped us, the UK, in our work in Afghanistan, we have got an obligation to them."
However, No 10 defended the Government's position.
The PM's spokesman said: "I think it was clear that military intervention alone was not going to be sufficient. We have seen the Taliban move quickly across Afghanistan, that is true, but we have been monitoring the situation, and are continuing to do everything possible to secure UK and Afghan nationals."
He said: "Clearly, once the US decision was made (to withdraw troops), our view was that it would not be right to act unilaterally in this as an occupying force.
"We did speak to other international partners on this, but it was clear that that wasn't going to be feasible. So we have focused on doing everything possible to enable... to work with the previous Afghan government and to now facilitate the exit of UK nationals and Afghan nationals."
He said: "We want to obviously continue to do this as long as we are able to do so and as long as it is safe to do so. You'll appreciate the US have said that they will be leaving at the end of the month so we will keep that under review and we'll continue to do it as long as we can do so because we want to get as many people out as we can."
Watch: UN Security Council told of targeted killings of civilians after Taliban sweeps to power