While the Taliban has stated that women’s rights will be respected, Priti Patel said it was difficult to believe “the PR operation that we’re currently seeing.”
The UK government will work alongside other nations and promised to resettle 5,000 Afghans in the UK in the first year. But, some MPs have criticised the scheme for not going far enough.
Thousands of Afghans have been trying to escape the country after the militants grabbed control of Kabul’s capital.
The government has devoted to resettling up to 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK in the long term – and Ms Patel mentioned that she wanted the bulk of those to be women, girls and persecuted minorities.
The Taliban assured women’s rights in Afghanistan will be respected “within the framework of Islamic law”.
However, the home secretary mentioned that the group had a history of oppressing women and “that’s not going to change overnight”.
“I genuinely do not think that we should be at all believing the spokespeople or the PR operation that we’re currently seeing,” she shared with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Though Ms Patel rejected to give a timescale for how long it would take for the 20,000 Afghans to be fetched to the UK.
However, she associated the new scheme with one introduced for Syrian refugees, which saw a comparable number of people relocated over seven years.
“We could end up bringing many more [than 20,000] but first of all we have to have the underpinning and the infrastructure and the support to do that,” she mentioned.
She stated that a target of 5,000 in the first year was “deliverable”, adding: “It would be terrible quite frankly to bring people and not be able to give them the support that they would need in terms of accommodation, resettlement and giving them the opportunity to build a new life in the UK.”
Questioned how the UK would get susceptible people, who may not feel safe leaving their homes, out of Afghanistan, Ms Patel mentioned ministers would work with third party agencies, humanitarian organisations and other governments, comprising the US and Canada.
She also added that people could also be relocated from neighbouring countries, as well as Afghanistan itself.
In the meantime, Parliament has been recalled, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been apprising MPs about the situation in Afghanistan. He mentioned that the government would do everything it can to support those who have assisted the UK mission in Afghanistan and “avert a humanitarian crisis”.