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WELCOMED TO STAY: Dudley Council will rehome 20 Afghan families

WELCOMED TO STAY: Dudley Council will rehome 20 Afghan families

Image: LDRS

Up to twenty families from Afghanistan will be welcomed to stay in the Black Country indefinitely, as the council publicly commits to rehoming those who risked their lives for Britain.

Dudley council has given the green light for 20 families to come to the borough, with the first families expected to arrive over the summer.

The families are war veterans who served on the front line, risking their lives to protect British troops with interpretation and translation services.

They will have access to housing and services as part of the settlement, which is government funded.

The council already has a priority system running for British war veterans to access housing and accommodation, but housing bosses are keen to ensure the support given to the new families does not impact on anyone already on the waiting list.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing and community services, said: “The sacrifice many of these people made in Afghanistan to help protect British troops is extremely moving, and, like local authorities across the country, of course we are happy to help.

“The government-funded scheme will mean they will be able to relocate from Afghanistan to our borough and we have set a maximum of 20 families to come here.

She added: “We will be able to access a range of private and social housing so there shouldn’t be any impact on local people already on the housing waiting list.

“We will be working with the families to make sure they have a home in the borough in the most sensible and fair way.

On Sunday, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and declared the “war is over”, bringing an end to the two-decade campaign from the US and allies to try and transform Afghanistan since the last Taliban rule.

Since that news broke, scenes of fraught panic and desperation have dominated the news agenda, with videos of people trying to grab hold of aeroplanes and running to board flights out of the country.

Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North, felt “saddened” by the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, and said he will focus on “short term support” for those who need to be repatriated to Britain.

In a statement on Facebook, he said: “I am no foreign policy expert, but the last 72 hours cannot leave us with the smallest doubt about one thing: that the sudden withdrawal of peace keeping troops from the country is a catastrophic failure.

“Think about the 454 British troops who died there. What for? Think about the many more who have returned maimed or traumatised – and about the utter betrayal that veterans of Afghanistan must be feeling.
“Think about the Afghans who helped coalition forces. Some have already been murdered.
“Did they deserve being left at the mercy of the Taliban? We should help them.
He added: “Think about ordinary Afghans, people like you and me, who had only recently started to see more of a normal life and think especially about the women and young girls at the mercy of these barbarians […]
“The immediate focus must be on returning to the U.K. of all our nationals and on returning safely of all the troops who have been sent back there to protect them!
“I really struggle with the answers to these questions, some of which are painfully obvious.
“Parliament has been recalled for this coming Wednesday.
“My focus will be on the short term support needed to repatriate our nationals, troops and Afghans who helped us.
“But I do think that many other questions need answering.”
Words: Rhi Storer, Local Democracy Reporter

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