British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced on Monday that he had expedited the transfer of local personnel serving in Afghanistan to the UK, fearing retaliation by the Taliban after the withdrawal of NATO troops.
“When we withdraw our armed forces, it is only fair to expedite the relocation of casualties,” Wallace said in a statement.
The Minister assured that “we will do everything possible to” put the translators and other local authorities who risked their lives with the British forces in Afghanistan “in a safe environment” and praised the enormous “debt” that the Kingdom has. With them.
London, which has displaced 1,358 Afghans in 20 years of conflict, has promised to make it a priority in early April to prioritize any local officials who may or may not work in the UK.
But thousands of professionals and their families are still waiting for the last NATO troops, including 750 British soldiers, to leave Afghanistan.
“We have a moral obligation to recognize the risks they have taken in the fight against terrorism and to reward their efforts,” said British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who promised to “fulfill that duty by providing an opportunity to create a new life.”
The British government estimates the number of translators who can travel to the UK with their families is 3,000.
Retired Colonel Simon Dickins, a member of the Sulha Coalition of Afghan Translators, celebrated the move, although he criticized in a statement to the AFP for the lack of clarity on the status of translators fired by the British military, who may have excluded 1,010 people between 2001 and 2014.
Sixteen organizations, including the Sulha Alliance of NATO countries, have written to allies calling for “immediate security for threatened Afghan officials and their families,” and expressed concern over the firm use of these measures.
According to the letter, translators “fear that they will be abandoned, not only because of the conflict of standards, but also because of the poor security situation, making it impossible to attend interviews and obtain documents in a timely manner.”
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