'Shot, raped and tortured': Horrors for stranded Afghans revealed as PM confirms 311 left behind

There have been widespread reports of human rights abuses since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Credit: PA

People stranded in Afghanistan who have connections to the UK have faced horrors including being raped, shot and tortured after missing out on evacuations out of the Taliban-controlled country, a Labour MP has revealed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that just 311 Afghans eligible for resettlement in the UK remain in Afghanistan, but other estimates have put the figure at around 1,100.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said he'd contacted the government over 143 Afghans connected to his Rhondda constituency, who were stuck in the country after Western forces pulled out.

"Since I sent in those names, one of them has been shot, one has been raped and one has been tortured," Mr Bryant told MPs during a debate on the Afghanistan crisis.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blamed the prime minister's "lack of leadership" for "thousands" of people being left behind, although the PM strongly disputed his figures.

He said the PM's inability to prepare for the Taliban's swift recapture of Afghanistan meant the UK was scrambling to carry out a last minute evacuation.

"The prime minister only convened a G7 meeting on Afghanistan after Kabul was lost, because of this lack of leadership the government has left behind so many to whom we owe so much," he said.

He added: "The government doesn't even know how many UK nationals and how many Afghans eligible under the Arap scheme have been left behind to the cruelty of the Taliban. A national disgrace.

"Even if they could identify who we have left behind, the government doesn’t have a plan to get everybody out. Kabul airport remains closed to international flights."

The PM hit back, defending his response to the crisis in Afghanistan and rubbishing the Labour leader's figures.

"As for the question of how many Arap candidates are remaining I can tell him that the total number is 311, of which 192 responded to the calls that were put out and, I repeat, we will do absolutely everything we can to ensure that those people get the safe passage that they deserve using the levers that I have described."

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) is a scheme set up by the government which allows thousands of Afghans who worked with Britons, such as interpreters, to resettle in the UK.

Listen as Boris Johnson defended the actions of the government over the situation in Afghanistan

Another scheme was set up to help vulnerable Afghans with no connection to the UK who want to escape the Taliban - the government said it would resettle 5,000 Afghans this year and a further 20,000 over the next five years.

Labour's Harriet Harman warned that the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme "is going to end up as a lottery of life and death" if the 5,000 cap is not removed.

She asked about the number of Afghan citizens "who want and need to flee here from Afghanistan and have already asked".

She said: "How will the Government in practice decide between those who will be the lucky 5,000 and be allowed to come here and those who, though meeting the criteria will, because of the 5,000 cap, be refused and face a terrible fate at the hands of the Taliban?

"I think the reality is unless they increase the 5,000 cap, the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme is going to end up as a lottery of life and death."

Mr Raab replied: "I think she's right to say frankly even if we doubled or tripled the quota, the number of people fleeing Afghanistan is going to outstrip what the UK would be able to take alone."

Mr Johnson said that all councils involved in the rehoming of Afghan refugees "will get the funding they need".

Sir Keir attacked Mr Johnson for failing to find international agreement on the resettlement of Afghan refugees, adding: "We have a prime minister incapable of international leadership just when we needed it most."

He also claimed British troops were "let down" by the political leadership of the country.

He said: "They were let down on strategy. The prime minister underestimated the strength of the Taliban, despite intelligence warnings that rapid Taliban advances could lead to the collapse of the Afghan security forces, a return to power of the Taliban and our embassy shutting down amid reduced security - the government continued to act on the assumption that there was no path to military victory for the Taliban - complacent and wrong."

Both the PM and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have faced criticism over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan after remaining on holiday as the Taliban completed its takeover of the country.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed almost 5,000 Afghans who "loyally served the UK and their dependents" were among those evacuated from Afghanistan.

But many have claimed thousands of Afghans who worked with Britain, their families and other vulnerable citizens have been left behind.

And there have been warnings that the UK could face a heightened terror threat if extremism is allowed to flourish once again in Afghanistan.

The foreign secretary told MPs that the UK will not recognise the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan and will pressure the group to prevent terrorism and protect human rights.

Mr Raab told the Commons: "We will not recognise the Taliban but we will engage and we will carefully calibrate our actions to the choices that they make and the actions that they take.

"Given our strategic priorities, the ones that I have set out, we must also set some credible tests to hold the Taliban to the undertakings they have made on safe passage, on terrorism, on humanitarian access and a more inclusive government.

"We stand ready to use all the levers at our disposal in that effort: political, economic, diplomatic."