Afghanistan has been the centre of international debate after Taliban forces completed their swift takeover of the country by capturing the capital, Kabul this week.

Since then, chaotic scenes of people attempting to board flights in a desperate attempt to flee the country have sparked debates across the country on whether NATO’s withdrawal from the country came too soon.

Concerns have also been circulating as to what the impact of the fall of Afghanistan might have on the streets of the UK.

In his opening statement in parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that NATO succeeded in its core mission, that terrorist activity in the country was reduced and plots foiled.

However, there are now concerns over the future of human rights in the country and the potential for it to be used once again as a training ground for terrorists.

Conservative MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson, said the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan “has the potential to make us all less safe”.

He said:”I’ve been very vocal about our intervention but the fact is this isn’t about whether we should have gone in 20 years ago it’s about the responsibility we now have.

“I didn’t expect to be debating it.”

Speaking of the recent rise of the Taliban Mr Jenkinson added:”It has the potential to make us all less safe that’s what we’ve all got to remember and I hope that doesn’t come to pass but that’s what we’ve got to remember.”

Mr Jenkinson said the US’s withdrawal from the country felt like an “abandonment” and that it will go down as a “huge foreign policy failure”.

Conservative MP for Carlisle, John Stevenson echoed Mr Jenkinson’s sentiment, calling the US’s withdrawal “very sad” and “distressing”.

He added that the impact of the country’s takeover could have more geo-political implications on top of national ones.

He said: “The danger is what the consequences are going to be in the future and I think these are deeply uncertain.

“I think what happens in Afghanistan is of concern, but I think it’s a wider international issue that will arise.

“Does it embolden further terrorist activity? Does it embolden China because they see Western countries in retreat? So I think that is the sort of geo-political concerns that I have.”

Questions have also been raised over how many Afghan refugees the UK should be accommodating.

Cumbria County Council has already said that the county stands ready to accept any refugees that the Government asks it to take on.

The council said Cumbria has welcomed 258 refugees since 2017 under the existing Government refugee resettlement scheme and Boris Johnson has pledged to bring bring up to 20,000 refuges over to the UK over the next few years.

So far, the UK government’s ambition is for the new Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme to resettle 5,000 Afghan nationals who are at risk due to the current crisis, in its first year.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel said the Government plans to expand the scheme to re-settle Afghans who worked with the British Forces.

On whether the government should have committed to taking on more refugees, Conservative MP for Copeland, Trudy Harrison, said: “The number of refugees should be conditions based and at this stage I do not know the number applying through the FCDO special cases systems that is ongoing, but we clearly are helping and will continue to assist.

“The current priority is securing safe routes to Kabul airport where we have planes ready for our people and those who are eligible.”

When asked if Carlisle should be taking on its fair share of refugees coming into the country, Carlisle MP, John Stevenson said: “Afghans will come to this country and go to different parts of the country for a variety of reasons.

“They may already have families or communities established in this country where they want to go, we should not be prescriptive.”

Carlisle Refugee Action Group (CRAG) said the area has a proud history of being a haven for those in need of sanctuary and that it should be opening its arms to refugees once again.

CRAG Chair, James Cartwright, said: “Carlisle has got a long history of welcoming refugees, right back to the Second World War.

“It’s a success. We’ve had refugees who have settled here in Cumbria who are working, settling in schools and who are off to university in September.

“We’ve proved that we can do it and that we can be a welcoming community and that people can come here, thrive and start to enrich that community.

“There’s no reason why we can’t expand this now.

“There are a hand-full of Afghan families - Afghan interpreters who worked alongside UK forces - who have very recently settled here and are finding their feet.

“We’ve certainly got a duty to support those people who are doing a job for us and putting their lives on the line for us.

“We’re seeing what’s unfolding in Afghanistan and we’ve shown that we’re able to be a place of sanctuary. We stand ready.”

James said that accepting Afghan refugees should be based on more than whether or not they will contribute to society.

He added: “If people are in need, we should be providing them with sanctuary and the question of whether people are going to bring benefit to our community is secondary.

“The priority should be helping people who need help, and that’s where Cumbria has always done an excellent job.

“People who have settled here over the last few years are already contributing to society in a number of ways.

“Those people who are coming over from Afghanistan who already have links with the media or armed forces in the UK have certainly done their bit already and of course, they will continue to contribute to society when they are here.

“But, really we already owe them that safety because they’ve been putting their lives on the line for us in the first place.”

Across the UK, the Home Office has resettled 2,000 former Afghan staff and their families in the UK since June 22, 2021.

The council will not be pro-active in resettlement attempts until it hears more from the government about precise plans.

For more information on CRAG and the work they do, visit their Facebook page.