London: More than 21,000 people, including British nationals and their families, have been safely brought to the UK from Afghanistan, the government has said.
The group of people also comprise Afghans who worked for Britain and people identified as high-risk, such as women’s rights campaigners, journalists and members of the LGBT+ community, reports dpa news agency citing the UK government’s latest update as saying.
The update was provided following repeated calls for information on arrivals ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover on August 15, 2021.
The total includes around 15,000 people who were evacuated during Operation Pitting, the initial British military rescue mission.
Around 5,000 people have been brought to safety since the evacuation in August last year.
And around 2,000 locally employed Afghan staff and their families were taken out of the country before Operation Pitting under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which launched in April 2021.
So far, 10,000 people have been brought to Britain under ARAP.
An up-to-date total was not provided for the number of Afghan refugees who have arrived in Britain under the separate Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which launched in January 2022.
At this time, the government said around 6,500 people had been brought to safety during and after Operation Pitting, and had received leave to remain under the scheme. This remains the latest publicly available figure.
Updates on arrivals under both schemes are due to be included in a future publication of the government’s quarterly immigration statistics.