KABUL: The UK is speeding up granting asylums to the thousands of Afghans who worked for the British military-mostly interpreters as fears grow of possible dangerous outcomes of post-international force exit.
UK Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace said that it was “only right” to accelerate such plans due to interpreters being “at risk of reprisals” from the Taliban.
More than 3,000 Afghan workers will relocate in UK in next months.
“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,” Wallace said. “It’s my duty as Defense Secretary, I believe, to do the right thing by these people, and when they come here they will be supported and I very much hope that the British population also supports them, because these people have taken great risks very often to protect the men and women of our armed forces.”
More than 1,400 Afghans and their families have already relocated to the UK, and hundreds more have received funding for education and training.
The procedure of the applicant’s role have been changed as the earlier scheme had not eligible a large number of interpreters, but currently any of former locally employed staff member deemed to be under serious threats will be offered priority relocation in the UK.
This will be regardless of their employment status, role, rank or length of service, and the scheme will be open for applications even after British troops have left Afghanistan.
The arriving Afghans in UK will be offered help with housing and other essential needs, Wallace added.
“Following the decision to begin the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan, the prime minister has agreed with the Ministry of Defense, Home Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to rapidly accelerate applications through the policy,” the UK government said in a statement.
The UK has around 750 troops in Afghanistan. The withdrawal of British military become under action after the U.S. President Joe Biden announced that he will pull all American Service Members out of Afghanistan by September 11.