Welsh council among first to resettle Afghan refugees as three families welcomed to Carmarthenshire

Evacuation efforts are ongoing at Kabul Airport as people try to leave Afghanistan and Taliban rule. Credit: Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

A Welsh council has become one of the first in the UK to provide refuge to people currently fleeing from Afghanistan.

Carmarthenshire County Council has resettled three Afghan families as part of a UK-wide scheme.

The 15 individuals, who were some of the first to be evacuated from the now Taliban-controlled country, will be supported by the council to rebuild their lives here in Wales.

The UK Government plans to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees over the coming years and Mark Drakeford has said Welsh Government are "working with the Home Office and councils on preparations to support those who need it".

The UK Government plan to take in 5,000 Afghanistan refugees over the next year. Credit: CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Council officers in Carmarthenshire are working with EYST (Ethnic Youth Support Team) and local multi-cultural networks to help ensure the three Afghan families have everything they need.

EYST have previously worked with the council to provide specialist support for refugees settled in Carmarthenshire from Syria.

Cllr Linda Evans, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “It is desperately upsetting to see what is happening in Afghanistan, and as a council we are committed to doing everything we can to help.

“We have been working with the UK Government for several weeks and have already found safe homes for three families who were amongst the first to be evacuated.

“I’ve no doubt, as we have already experienced with refugees settled from Syria, that they will - in time and with the right support - be a huge asset to our communities.”

Ms Evans also thanked the local landlords who have helped with the rehoming.

The council is not currently taking donations for items like furniture, clothing and food but it is making arrangements for anyone who wishes to donate money to help with the resettlement programme going forward. It has pledged to continue to work with the UK Government to provide support if necessary.

It comes after Powys County Council also confirmed they had agreed to resettle three families from Afghanistan who previously helped British military troops.

 Powys' Cabinet Member for Housing, Iain McIntosh, said: “The brave service and help given by members of the Afghan community to British forces abroad has been invaluable but leaves them in a vulnerable position in hostile foreign regions.

"I’m sure our communities will offer the warm welcome the three families deserve, and I hope they settle into their new homes soon.”

The UK Government plans to take in 5,000 refugees from Afghanistan over the next year, with 20,000 expected in the long-term.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that 5,725 people have been repatriated since August 13, with 3,100 of them Afghan individuals and their families.

It is unclear how many refugees Wales will rehome but the Welsh Local Government Association have said: "All councils will play their part in providing accommodation and sanctuary to those who are able to leave the country." 

Evacuation efforts are ongoing in Afghanistan as people converge on Kabul Airport, desperate to leave the country. However there are concerns that repatriation flights will not be able to continue after August 31, when all US military are set to withdraw.