Dozens of asylum seekers from Afghanistan, including unaccompanied children and the elderly, were denied refuge in the UK during the Taliban’s takeover of the country, NationalWorld can exclusively reveal.
The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan displaced millions and sparked a chaotic mass evacuation from Kabul airport in August.
But while the country fell to the militant forces, the UK Government refused asylum to 27 Afghans, official figures show.
The Home Office said it had paused repatriation flights for failed asylum seekers from Afghanistan, “while we consider the situation”.
Children and the elderly denied asylum
The UK has committed to resettling up to 5,000 people in the first year of the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).
Home Office figures show 27 Afghans had their asylum applications rejected (15%) during July, August and September, around the same time the Taliban was advancing across the country.
Among this number were two boys and a girl under 18 and one woman aged 70 or over. Four of the applicants were female.
Of the children who were refused status, two of them were Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) meaning they had no responsible adult to care for them.
During the same period 100 Afghans were granted the right to stay in the UK and 58 withdrew their applications.
According to the data, all cases refused in 2021 were due to the person not meeting the requirements for refugee status, Humanitarian Protection, Discretionary Leave or leave to remain under family or private life rules.
The Home Office states that people in such circumstances who are destitute may be able to obtain support if they are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK or are unable to leave because of a legal or practical obstacle.
The rejections were based on initial decisions. It is not known whether the people returned to Afghanistan.
Amnesty to Afghans ‘not appropriate’
Despite the ongoing conflict, the Home Office said an amnesty to Afghans was not considered appropriate.
It said asylum and human rights claims are considered on a case by case basis and in line with published policy.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “While it is not considered that an amnesty is appropriate, the Home Office can provide reassurance that no one who is at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there.
“Given the complex situation in Afghanistan, enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and who have exhausted all rights of appeal are currently paused while we consider the situation.”
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