More than 200 Afghans resettled in Wales following Taliban takeover

Refugees from Afghanistan wait to be processed after arriving on a evacuation flight at Heathrow Airport, London. Picture date: Thursday August 26, 2021.  Dominic Lipinski/PA
50 families have arrived in Wales Credit: PA

One of the first groups of Afghan refugees, who fled Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, have arrived in Wales.

Fifty families, made up of 230 people, are now being housed in the country. The majority of these supported Welsh army units in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.

It comes after the UK Government pledged to welcome 20,000 Afghans most at risk of persecution by the Taliban.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover Credit: PA

Resettling the refugees has come after a collaboration from a number of agencies, including the UK & Welsh governments, local councils and the Ministry of Defence.

Carmarthenshire Council became one of the first to resettle refugees in August after welcoming three families.

A number of the families in this group will be housed with the help of Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

A spokesperson for the UK Government said it is working "urgently" to help thousands of Afghans "rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities" in Wales.

“We owe a great deal to those who worked alongside British forces and the UK government over the past two decades. The UK will step up and do right by those who have done right by us.”

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said Wales is "committed" to being a 'Nation of Sanctuary'. She added all local authorities have offered their support and assistance. "We’re committed to do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are welcomed.

"Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary – we will do all we can to provide a warm welcome in the short-term and our communities will, no doubt, be enriched by their skills and experiences in the very near future.

Chief Executive of the Urdd, Sian Lewis said: “This has been a huge team Wales effort across all sectors, and we are grateful to our partners for enabling us to open our doors as a refuge to families seeking shelter and safety.

"As an organisation, we are proud to help and continue to share with our members the importance of loyalty to country and culture but also to humanity and a higher good.

"We have a moral obligation as a national youth organisation to support humanitarian projects and offer a hand of friendship and support to the Afghan community in their time of need.”

The Reverend Aled Edwards, from Cytun (Churches Together in Wales) said they are are working closely with the Afghan community.

"We are waiting to see what is required for those individuals and to see how we can support them and that is a matter of waiting and seeing, just really being welcoming and speaking well of them."

He added the children arriving in the families will "become very Welsh and feel that passionate sense of Welshness".

"I think we just got to be welcoming and define these individuals not by their challenges now but by their huge potential to us as a nation."

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