Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Plymouth is home to a number of Afghan interpreters who supported British Forces in Afghanistan over many years. There has been a controversy over many years that promises to reunite Afghan interpreters families in the UK have not been kept by the Government. With the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan and the advance of the Taliban in Kabul, there is a renewed urgency for getting the families of Afghan interpreters out because of genuine threats to their safety and security -families of Afghan interpreters have been killed in the past and so there is a renewed urgency to get them safely to the UK and reunited with their husbands.
Luke Pollard MP is supporting a number of Afghan interpreters who are based in Plymouth to get their families to the UK, but is increasingly frustrated about the delays and slow action from the Home Office. This concern has increased in recent weeks because families who have been given reassurance about being resettled in the UK have struggled to access the visas that they need to travel. This has involves perilous travel in Afghanistan to access the British Embassy. Although some families have flown to the UK under the Resettlement Scheme and been reunited with their husbands and fathers in Plymouth, there are a number of families who remain in Afghanistan and so are still under deep threat.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“When I raised specific issues were raised with the Home Office this week, the Home Office said they would get back to me within twenty working days. In twenty working days, these families may be dead. We owe Afghan interpreters a debt of gratitude for their service supporting British and coalition forces in Afghanistan. There is cross-party concern that Afghan interpreters’ families have not been resettled as promised in the UK, but the clock is ticking and it is ticking faster and faster because of the advance of Taliban forces in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of British and American forces.
If we don’t act soon, there is a genuine risk to life for these families. I am working to support a number of families who have interpreters based in Plymouth – Plymouth is a dispersal city and I am proud that we are a welcoming city for refugees and asylum seekers, including those people who supported our forces, without whom we could not undertake duties in Afghanistan. We owe them, and I know that British people support their resettlement to keep them safe. That is why Ministers must act urgently.”