Afghan refugees in UK to be taught 'British values and culture'

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Refugees from Afghanistan wait to be processed after arriving on a evacuation flight at Heathrow Airport on August 26, 2021 in London, England. Ministry of Defence figures put the number of people evacuated by the UK since August 13 at 9,226, but there are thousands feared to be remaining. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK will use
Refugees from Afghanistan waiting to be processed after arriving on an evacuation flight at Heathrow. (Getty)

Afghan refugees could be taught about British values including "enhanced" English language training so they can "contribute fully to British life'. 

The Times reported the government will test plans for a new integration scheme on Afghans who have arrived in the country after fleeing the Taliban.

The scheme would mimic countries like Italy, France and Germany, the newspaper reported, where arrivals are given extensive language lessons as well as passes for museums and galleries and classes to help them integrate more fully. 

According to the Times, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said the government is looking into how it can: "comprehensively introduce people to British culture, civic and political life, increasing people’s knowledge and understanding of the country and its values, so they can contribute fully to British life".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab giving evidence to the Commones Foreign Affairs Committee in London, about the Government's handling of the Afghanistan crisis. Picture date: Wednesday September 1, 2021.
Dominic Raab is visiting the area around Afghanistan for talks with counterparts on how to ensure safe passage of Britons and eligible Afghans who have fled the country. (Getty)

News of the scheme comes as the government announced up to £30 million of aid to Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to help those who have fled after it was retaken by the Taliban.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said £10 million would be made available immediately to humanitarian partners, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to enable essential supplies such as shelters to be despatched to the Afghan borders as well as setting up sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Read more: Haibatullah Akhundzada: Who is the hardline leader of the Taliban?

A further £20 million will be allocated to countries that experience a significant increase in refugees to support reception and registration facilities and provide essential services and supplies.

The aid was announced as Dominic Raab visited the region for talks with his counterparts on Afghanistan in a bid to secure safe passage for UK nationals and "eligible Afghans" who have fled the country, with talks also including how to prevent the country from becoming a haven for terrorists, addressing humanitarian issues and "holding the Taliban to account on human rights".

Watch: Dominic Raab criticised for laughing during emergency Afghanistan debate

The government - particularly the Foreign Office - has come under fire for its handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan. 

Raab himself was criticised for being on holiday when Afghanistan's capital Kabul fell to the Taliban while it also emerged that documents with sensitive details on employees who had worked at the Embassy in the capital were left for the Taliban to find, putting their lives at risk.

The number of people the UK has left behind in Afghanistan who were eligible for repatriation has remained controversial, with the government suggesting the figure is between 800 and 1,100, while Labour say it is aware of 5,000 cases. 

On a visit to paratroopers in Essex, Boris Johnson failed to shed any light on the number, giving a lengthy comment that did not provide a number, saying: "Obviously there are some and we care for them very much, we’re thinking about them and doing everything we can to help."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Merville Barracks in Colchester, Essex, to meet members of 16 Air Assault Brigade, following their recent deployment to Afghanistan to enable the safe evacuation of British nationals and Afghans who worked alongside British forces and who had been given the right to settle in the UK. Picture date: Thursday September 2, 2021.
Boris Johnson gave a rambling answer when asked for a clear figure on how many people had been left behind in Afghanistan by the UK. (PA)

Announcing its £30 million aid package, the government said 550,000 people have been displaced within Afghanistan since the start of the year and said the UNHCR estimates a worst-case scenario of more than 500,000 refugees fleeing the country to Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in the coming months.

In a statement on the aid, Raab said: "It is vital that we help those fleeing Afghanistan and do not allow the crisis there to undermine regional stability. That’s why these life-saving supplies are so important.

"They will provide Afghans who have left everything behind with essential kit offering shelter and basic sanitation as they seek to pick up the pieces of their lives.

"This aid demonstrates the UK’s commitment to shoulder our humanitarian responsibility and support those countries who will face the greatest demands for those displaced."

Watch: UK official meets senior members of Taliban to ensure Britons can safely leave Afghanistan

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