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Treatment of Afghan interpreters: British minister under fire


KABUL: The British minister of state for defence has come under scathing attack over his department’s policy on Afghan interpreters seeking asylum in the United Kingdom, Daily Mail reported on Friday.

Earl Howe came in for flak after he defended the British government for keeping the interpreters in the Calais Jungle or deporting them. But House of Lords members slammed the action an ‘inexplicable, inhumane and shameful’.

A ruckus erupted in the house when Lord Ashdown insisted there was ‘nothing’ stopping the government from letting interpreters now ‘languishing in despair’ into Britain.

According to the newspaper, 100 interpreters are believed to have directly appealed to the Ministry of Defence for help under a second scheme. However, their applications have gone unanswered.

Under the first scheme, 270 translators were permitted to stay in Britain, but only one was allowed in under the second. A dozen others are facing deportation from the UK. Ten of them, seeking to make it to Britain, are caught in the Calais Jungle camp.

The Mail said 10 more individuals had fled Afghanistan in a bid to reach Europe through risky sea crossings. But Earl Howe dismissed criticism of the treatment meted out to the translators

Ex-Tory minister Lord Fowler said: “Surely, the time has come for us to recognise we owe a debt of honour to those who helped this country at great danger to themselves.”

Ashdown, former Lib Dem leader, referred to two Afghans waiting for a decision in the UK and another 10 caught in despair in Calais. One of them was seriously wounded in an explosion. -Pajhwok


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