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
via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/05/22/government-u-turns-on-afghan-interpreters-and-plans-to-offer-them-asylum/