Around 600 Afghan interpreters are to be offered the chance to settle in Britain after an apparent coalition rethink. About half the staff working with UK forces are expected to be granted visas in recognition of risks to their personal safety.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it would have been "morally unacceptable" to deny the Afghan interpreters the option of coming to Britain:
We owe it to them to make sure that where they are under real threat of retribution or intimidation, we look after them.
I think we have a duty of care to these people, just as we did to a number of interpreters who helped us in Iraq. I wasn't content with the idea which was floated that, somehow, this time round... as part of the menu of options for some of the interpreters who helped us, we wouldn't include as part of that menu of options the right to come to this country.
A settlement scheme is the right policy for people who have risked their lives to help our troops in Afghanistan. It was not right for the Government to leave interpreters and their families to face threats from the Taliban when we leave.
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.
The Prime Minister has been very clear that we should not turn our backs on those who have trod the same path as our soldiers in Helmand, consistently putting their lives at risk to help our troops achieve their mission.
We should recognise the service given by those who have regularly put themselves in real danger while working for us.
These proposals give them a choice: the opportunity to go on working in Afghanistan, learning new skills and to go on rebuilding their country or to come and make a new start in Britain.