Stormont Executive urged to provide homes for Afghans who helped allied forces

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The Northern Ireland Executive has been urged to provide a safe home for Afghans who helped allied forces.

The call came from Ulster Unionist leader and Army veteran Doug Beattie, who won the Military Cross for his service in Afghanistan.

As scores of people attempt to flee the country following the taking of capital Kabul by the Taliban, Mr Beattie said Northern Ireland should offer a home to those who need it.

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“A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan. There are five million displaced people within the country,” the MLA said.

“For those that remain we must come together to support them and for those who leave we must work to provide them with a safe home.

“Men, women and young boys and girls are fleeing the country in their thousands, including those who worked with us and those who worked for us.
“It is important that Northern Ireland comes together along with the rest of the international community to support these people.

“If they need a home, it is important that we in Northern Ireland open our doors to give them a home.

“In our time of need they supported us, and in their time of need we must support them.

“The Northern Ireland Executive should play its part, working with the United Kingdom Government, to provide a safe haven in our own land for those people who face imminent threat from the human rights abuses of the Taliban.”

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
British citizens and dual nationals get on an RAF plane out of Afghanistan (Ministry of Defence/PA)

MPs are to debate the situation in Afghanistan on Wednesday in the House of Commons.

Mr Beattie added: “As Parliament sits to debate the failure of the western world to live up to its promises to the freedom-loving people of Afghanistan, we as a country, including our own Executive, must do everything possible to help our Afghan allies escape and establish new lives for their families in the United Kingdom.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson earlier said Northern Ireland has a duty to consider offering sanctuary to some refugees from Afghanistan.

He told the BBC he feared there would be “terrible consequences from the Taliban” for people who “very courageously worked alongside our military”.

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