ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers hears from the Afghan interpreters scared for their own lives and the lives of their families
Moves to relocate hundreds of Afghans who worked for the British military and government to the UK will be accelerated as foreign forces leave the country.
The scheme – the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy – was launched earlier this year, allowing the Afghans, who mostly worked as interpreters, to settle in Britain.
More than 1,400 Afghans and their families have already relocated to the UK, and hundreds more received funding for education and training.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has approved an acceleration of the relocation scheme amid fears for the safety of those who helped the UK as international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan.
Including the workers’ family members, some 3,000 more Afghans are expected to settle in the UK under the plan.
Mr Wallace said it was “only right” to accelerate the programme, or else those being relocated might “be at risk of reprisals” from the Taliban.
But charities say the government must do more to help those who are not included in the scheme due to dismissals over minor transgressions.
The Sulha Alliance says some 35% of translators, amounting to 1,010, will not be offered the option to settle in the UK.
'We need the government to actively reach out'
The issue has been in the spotlight since British forces ended combat operations in Helmand in 2014.
Earlier schemes had involved strict criteria on who could apply to live in the UK, and considered factors such as length of service and precise roles.
But new government policy says any current or former locally employed staff assessed to be under serious threat to life will be offered priority relocation to Britain, regardless of their employment status, rank or role or length of time served, the BBC reported.