IAN Blackford has urged the UK Government to take in 35,000 Afghan refugees.

The SNP Westminster leader said that there were many “vulnerable” people in Afghanistan who need assistance to leave the country as the Taliban took control of the capital city Kabul.

Blackford pointed out that the UK took 20,000 Syrian nationals into the country in 2014, which equated to 0.1% of the Syrian population.

Using that as a basis, Blackford said the UK should take around 35,000 Afghan refugees.

READ MORE: Dominic Raab responds to criticism over holiday during Afghanistan crisis

Blackford said that it was part of “accepting responsibilities” and that he felt “deep shame” that the people of Afghanistan had been let down.

It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK did not see the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban coming.

And, US President Joe Biden said in a public address on Monday that he “stands squarely behind” his decision to remove troops from Afghanistan.

Blackford told Kay Burley on Sky News that the UK Government needs to open the discussion with devolved governments and local authorities and get the ball rolling on allowing Afghan refugees into the country.

The National:

Blackford urged the UK to take in 35,000 Afghan refugees

He said: “I think we’ve all got to recognise that there is a priority of getting those that are vulnerable out of Afghanistan, and of course first and foremost that’s about those that we have an association with as we heard in your earlier reports, and getting them out at pace.

“But beyond that, I think what we need to do is replicate what we had with Syria in 2014, the vulnerable scheme that we had in place there.

“It’s probably worth recalling Kay that the UK took 20,000 Syrian nationals at that point, it was 0.1% of the Syrian population, so on that basis we should be looking to take about 35,000 of those from Afghanistan.

“And we need to do this working with the governments throughout the United Kingdom and indeed with the local authorities because the local authorities need to be incentivised to take these Afghan nationals, and of course we need to look at the procedures of how we set this up.”

Blackford suggested this should be through the UNHCR, the agency which protects and aids refugees, but that it needs to be “different this time” and “done at pace”.

He continued: “It’s clear there are a lot of vulnerable people in Afghanistan, vulnerable to the loss of their human rights from the Taliban administration and we need to make sure that we can move fast, that we do that working with our allies in G7, do that with working through our allies working with the United Nations, but this is a humanitarian crisis.

“We know there are large numbers of refugees that are already on the move.

“Let's get the people out that we need to as an immediate priority, but let's not wait to set up procedures so we can take those that are vulnerable to the Taliban out of Afghanistan and give them sanctuary in the UK.”

Probed again on how many refugees the UK should take, Blackford said: “I’ve suggested using the benchmark of Syria which would give a number of 35,000.

READ MORE: Afghanistan: What is the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme?

“I think it's important that the UK Government gets round the table with all the devolved administrations, with the opposition parties, that we come together.

“It’s really important that we don’t play any political games out of this, it’s about accepting the responsibilities that we have, and I have a deep sense of shame that we have let the people of Afghanistan down.

“We asked them to work with us, we asked them to support us in our operations, we cannot now leave them in the lurch. It’s really important that all of us come together, that we stand by those in Afghanistan that need our support. That needs to start right now.”

On Monday, Blackford called for a UK four nations summit on refugee resettlement in the UK.

Meanwhile, the UK Government is set to recall the Westminster parliament on Wednesday because of the crisis.