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UK scheme for Afghan interpreters slammed as failure

UK scheme for Afghan interpreters slammed as failure

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May 27, 2018 - 10:49

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): British lawmakers have slammed as an utter failure a government scheme for protecting Afghan interpreters.

Not a single Afghan has settled in the UK as a result of the programme called the Intimidation Scheme. Instead it has led to hampering relocations.

Col Simon Diggins, the UK’s ex-defence attaché in Kabul, was quoted as saying:  "We have credible evidence of individuals being murdered.”

Some had been chased out of their homes, he told the BBC Radio 4. Around 2,000 former interpreters were stuck in their country under constant threat, he said.

The British government had a "duty of care" for locally employed civilians, remarked Tory MP and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat.

The so-called Intimidation Scheme's flaws were in contrast to another initiative, known as the Redundancy Scheme, which saw 1,150 Afghans re-homed in Britain, the cross-party report said.

A more "sympathetic approach" was suggested to the individuals who risked their lives while supporting British forces during their 13-year combat mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The study lashed out at the Home Office and Ministry of Defence for failing to discharge their obligations towards thousands of Afghans, with many working on the frontline.

“There is a broad consensus that the UK owes them a great debt of gratitude,” said the report -- Lost in Translation? Afghan Interpreters and Other Locally Employed Civilians.

“The government must abandon its policy of leaving former interpreters and other loyal personnel dangerously exposed.”

British forces in Afghanistan hired 7,000 Afghan civilians. About 50 percent of them were interpreters.

Supporters of the interpreters, including former British officers, voiced concern the interpreters could be victims of the Home Office drive to cut immigration.

“This is not only a matter of honour. How we treat our former interpreters and local employees, many of whom served with great bravery, will send a message to the people we would want to employ in future military campaigns,” commented Julian Lewis, who heads the committee.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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