THE first Brits and Afghan refugees have safely touched down in the UK after escaping the murderous clutches of Taliban militants thanks to a dramatic RAF rescue.
One relieved passenger gave a delighted thumbs-up as evacuees aboard an Airbus KC2 Voyager aircraft from Kabul landed at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
Around 20,000 Afghans will be flown to Britain to escape the Taliban in one of the biggest resettlements in our history.
The PM will today vow to rescue women and girls in particular from the clutches of the fanatics.
He will vow to honour the “debt” the country owes the Afghan people by rescuing the most vulnerable.
It comes as MPs are summoned back to Parliament for an emergency debate on the Afghanistan crisis which has rocked the world.
Announcing the new resettlement scheme, the PM will say: “We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years.
“Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help. I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.”
He will also call for the international community to “come together” to set “firm conditions” to stop the Taliban from plunging the country into the medieval violence and oppression which made them so notorious in the 1990s.
And he will urge the West to work with the Middle East to stop the Afghan disaster turning into a humanitarian catastrophe.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will add: “I want to ensure that as a nation we do everything possible to provide support to the most vulnerable fleeing Afghanistan so they can start a new life in safety in the UK, away from the tyranny and oppression they now face.
“Our country has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those in need. We will not abandon people who have been forced to flee their homes and are now living in terror of what might come next.
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“The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will save lives.”
The programme — one of the biggest of its kind in British history — will focus on giving asylum to women, girls and religious minorities fleeing persecution.
It will run for five years, with 5,000 Afghans offered asylum this year alone.
It comes on top of the existing ARAP scheme, which will give asylum to 5,000 interpreters and other Afghans who worked with Britain over the past 20 years.
This year, 10,000 desperate Afghans will be given a home in the UK, with a total of 25,000 welcomed over the next five years.
We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years.
Modelled on David Cameron’s Syrian refugee programme, those eligible will be brought over directly from Afghanistan or the refugee camps expected to spring up in neighbouring countries.
Amid heart-wrenching scenes of desperate Afghans besieging Kabul’s main airport trying to flee the new regime, UK forces have managed to rescue 520 Brits and Afghan staff since Saturday morning.
Mr Johnson is still waiting to speak to US President Joe Biden about the crisis — and is pushing for a virtual meeting of the G7 in the next few days.
The PM is also braced for a fiery showdown with his own raging backbenchers today as our shambolic and rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan is debated by MPs.
He is set to be hauled over the coals for failing to realise a resurgent Taliban would quickly swoop in and reconquer the country after Allied Forces were hurriedly withdrawn.
Meanwhile, some Taliban soldiers have been filmed laughing and joking as they ride dodgems at a captured theme park — as other armed thugs go door-to-door with a kill list.
But a diehard band of Afghan warlords have vowed to resist the Taliban from an impenetrable mountain stronghold two hours’ drive from Kabul.
'JOIN THE RESISTANCE'
Former vice president Amrullah Saleh — hated by the Taliban for his time as the country’s spy chief — fled to the Panjshir valley.
In a defiant message last night, he vowed: “The war is not over.” And he urged his supporters to “join the resistance”.
Writing in The Sun today, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace pays tribute to the 457 Brits who have died in Afghanistan in the past 20 years and insists their sacrifice was not in vain.
He writes: “We were safer here because of what our lads were doing over there.”
On the many brave squaddies who have risked or lost their lives, and their families, he admits some will look at the unfolding events in Afghanistan and wonder “was it worth it?”.
He adds: “So before people write off the years and sacrifices in Afghanistan as worthless let me say — they were not.”
British troops prevented terror plots, drove al-Qaeda “to ground” and paved the way for millions of Afghan girls to be educated, he said.
Mr Wallace admits the devastating speed at which the Afghan government collapsed “caught the whole international community by surprise”.
But he vowed to rescue those who helped Britain in our two decades in the country.
He wrote: “We owe a debt to those brave Afghans who risked their lives to support our military. I intend to honour that debt.”
The Sun understands that a “handful” of Afghans who worked for Britain have had their applications for emergency visas to flee the country rejected by the Home Office because links to terror and crime have been uncovered.
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