Hundreds of Afghans who have worked as interpreters or in other roles as local staff for the UK government or British military will be allowed to relocate, the UK government announced.
In a statement, the government said: "Following the decision to begin the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan, the prime minister has agreed with the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to rapidly accelerate applications through the policy."
The exact number of Afghans allowed to be relocated to the UK in this latest plan is unclear, but the government says it is expecting more than 3,000 to be resettled. This number includes both eligible local staff and their families.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said those that might otherwise "be at risk of reprisals" from the Taliban were being considered.
"With Western powers leaving Afghanistan, the threat is increasing and has increased, including targeted attacks by the Taliban,” Wallace said.
"This is allowing people a route to the United Kingdom for safety, the people who supported the British armed forces and the British government over many, many years in Afghanistan who feel they are in danger and it's absolutely right that we stand by those people,” he said.
Wallace told the BBC that "with Western powers leaving, the threat is increasing, including targeted attacks by the Taliban".
Most of those affected worked as interpreters for British troops and the acceleration of plans allowing them to settle in the UK comes amid fears for these workers' safety with the ongoing pullout of foreign troops, which is scheduled to end on September 11, 2021.
The report said that hundreds of interpreters have already settled in the UK in an earlier version of the plan.