Your (12 February, theguardian.com) is deeply poignant and highlights a shameful abandonment of those who served in their fight against the Taliban. Sadly, the UK’s attitude has, if anything, been worse.
The UK has chosen to make an almost entirely arbitrary distinction between the minority of interpreters who had served for 12 months, in Helmand, between 19 December 2011 and 19 December 2012, and the overwhelming majority, some 2,000, who hadn’t. For the former, there is the possibility of a visa for themselves and their families and some 390 former interpreters have been granted visas; for the rest, the majority, there has been only one successful application and he was a triple amputee.
To be sure, other interpreters have been able to reach the UK, but only by claiming asylum, in the face of fierce opposition by the government; it was the courts who have determined that they met the asylum requirement. Meanwhile, in , the Taliban and Islamic State, a new threat, have, according to the UN, been deliberately targeting current and former government officials; some 200 were attacked in the first half of 2017 and the security situation continues to deteriorate. In the case of a current UK asylum-seeker, the man’s father, who lived only seven miles from Kabul, was attacked and badly wounded when the Taliban were looking for his son.
Despite public and parliamentary denunciation of the present approach, the government’s shameful attitude persists. Whatever one thinks of the UK’s intervention in Afghanistan, we have a debt of honour and gratitude to our former interpreters and it is a scandal that we are not meeting it.