Afghan interpreter says Plymouth gave his family the ‘chance to live’

  • Watch Clare Manning's report

An Afghan interpreter living in Plymouth says he’s been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of locals since opening his shop in the city centre.

Aminullah Shinwari moved to Devon around eight years ago, after his work as an interpreter supporting British troops in Afghanistan meant he and his family became targets for the Taliban.

Had he stayed in the country, he would have risked death.

He told ITV News West Country that arriving in Plymouth was terrifying but moving to the UK changed his life completely.

“To be honest the first couple of days I never stopped my tears but after a while, you get used to it,” he said.

“My life was not safe there and I am happy here. If we were there, we may have died so why not be alive in Plymouth.”

Amin began working with British troops in 2007. Afghan interpreters helped soldiers try and build relationships with communities but also listened in on Taliban communications.

Members of the Taliban were instructed to target interpreters. Subsequently, hundreds were killed whilst supporting allied troops.

At the time, Amin felt that helping British troops was a risk worth taking.

He said: “These countries came from far away to rebuild our country so why not work shoulder by shoulder - we accepted the risk, if we didn’t sacrifice ourselves, who was going to work with them?”

On leaving Afghanistan in 2014, Amin came straight to Plymouth.

Since arriving in Devon, he has been supported by a number of charities, including Help for Heroes.

Former Royal Marine Larry Holmes, who now volunteers for the charity, worked alongside interpreters in Afghanistan.

He said: "It was as dangerous for them, if not more dangerous for them because the Taliban were paid more for killing an interpreter than they were a soldier - so it is important that we look after them now."

Amin is working seven days a week to make his business a success - forever grateful he still has a future.

He said: "I will never forget the people of Plymouth, the kindness and the way they support me. Thank you to Plymouth and the people for that."