Govt u-turns to offer Afghan interpreters right to asylum


2:06 pm - May 22nd 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

The government has decided to offer around 600 Afghan interpreters a chance to settle in Britain, it is being reported today.

The move will be a welcome u-turn for the government, and will still be subject to caveats and conditions that campaigners will now focus on.

According to press reports today, all interpreters who have been in the job for more than 12 months and put themselves in physical danger would be offered a resettlement package.

To be more specific, to be eligible they will need to have worked between December 2012 and December 2014, when British troops are due to leave.

But British forces have been there a lot longer, and there are worries this will exclude interpreters who had earlier worked for British forces and are still in danger.

Interpreters outside this criteria would be given a five-year training and education package with Afghan security forces.

The Times newspaper and the campaign group Avaaz.org had been campaigning hard on the issue, and both will welcome today’s announcement.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper issued a statement today saying:

This is a welcome about turn by the Prime Minister. We called for a settlement scheme for Afghan interpreters last December and called for it again in the Queen’s Speech. Ministers have repeatedly told us the number of interpreters was too many and they should simply be given money to stay and face threats from the Taliban.

We will scrutinise the scheme carefully, as the details don’t appear to be worked through. But we welcome this u-turn, albeit after Ministers had said the opposite over many weeks and months.

This blog had also started a campaign on the issue, and we were working with several newspapers to highlight the issue.

One Afghan interpreter gave this interview to BBC R4’s World at One today, saying the government’s offer did not going far enough

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


For this to be necessary just shows what a total disaster the war has been. All those deaths, all that money, all for nothing.

2. Shatterface

This is a welcome about turn by the Prime Minister. We called for a settlement scheme for Afghan interpreters last December and called for it again in the Queen’s Speech. Ministers have repeatedly told us the number of interpreters was too many and they should simply be given money to stay and face threats from the Taliban.

Does anyone know why in the name of fuck Labout started calling for this last December when they invaded Afghanistan well over a decade ago?

Couldn’t they have thought about any of the consequences of invasion at the time?

This looks like another of those ‘humiliating Tory u-turns’ which are actually sensible policies that New Labour couldn’t be arsed dealing with when they had the power: see also gay marriage.

3. douglas clark

It seems bleeding obvious to me that folk that helped us should be helped?

I have no timefor the war, but we have a responsibility to those that helped us.

4. man on the clapham omnibus

1. Chris

Not for nothing. It has secured oil reserves for the US.

5. Chaise Guevara

Hint: when someone agrees to do what you want, don’t immediately brag that it’s a “u-turn”. It doesn’t exactly encourage them to repeat that behaviour.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs




Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.