Defense ministry apologizes for ‘reckless’ error after Afghan interpreter told to check documents with Taliban
Desperate Afghan interpreters in hiding were told to approve their documents Taliban if they want to take refuge in the UK.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has been forced to apologize for “reckless” mistakes affecting applicants for the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy Plan (Arap) for those who supported British forces during the war.
About 40 Afghans trying to flee the Taliban were told that their birth and marriage certificates had to be written in English and stamped by an Afghan unit now run by a militant group.
Critics argued the move was risky as the applicants, who had been in hiding since the Taliban took power in August 2021, were asked to, in effect, “turn themselves in”. I’m here.
Rafi Hotak, a former translator who fled militants in 2011 and worked with British special forces in Afghanistan before being forced into exile in Britain, said the error was “reckless”.
Desperate Afghan interpreters in hiding have been told to get documents approved by the Taliban if they want to seek refuge in the UK. Photo: Visa applicant
Critics say the move puts applicants at risk.PHOTOS: Afghan citizens to leave the country in 2021
“It was unnecessary and reckless to ask Afghans to do this. It puts their lives at risk – more than they are already at risk,” he told email. .
The father of three children added that he had been contacted by some concerned applicants and had been forced to tell them not to act on their instructions.
“They were effectively asked to surrender to the Taliban,” he said.
“These people cannot work in hiding, their situation is so dire, they survive on donations.”
Mr Hottak, who has since retrained as an accountant and settled in Birmingham, said the error highlighted a worrying flaw in the Arap scheme.
“This shows that those working within Arup do not understand the reality of Afghans and the dangers they face every day.”
Critics say that while Afghan marriage certificates are issued in the local language and are not readily available in English, it is virtually impossible to obtain a new passport.
After The Independent revealed the error, the Defense Department was forced to “proudly apologize” and begin a review.
The bureau said all 37 applicants who received incorrect instructions are safe and have been told not to contact the Taliban afterwards.
Officials have emailed several applicants asking them to provide stamped documents from Afghan officials, despite Britain’s refusal to recognize the Taliban as the new government.
In one case, an Afghan interpreter was told to have a child’s birth certificate and marriage certificate verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Despite living in hiding, he is said to have eventually taken the marriage certificate to the Taliban Ministry of Justice for verification.
Dan Jarvis, a Labor MP and ex-soldier in Afghanistan, said: “Forcing Afghan allies to approve documents from the Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs is like asking them to sign their own death warrants. is.
“These demands by the British government completely ignore the serious reality facing eligible Afghans and put desperate people in danger.”
When the Department of Defense was alerted to this grave error, Arap caseworkers sent an apology email to the applicant.
An email reviewed by The Independent said:
“If you have received any of these messages, this is an error and we apologize for any misunderstanding or distress caused by this message.”
The minister has been accused of failing Afghan refugees in the 18 months since Kabul’s fall due to a series of delays with Arap.
The resettlement scheme is for Afghans who have worked in the British government and military and are eligible to apply for relocation with their families.
Statistics show that around 11,200 people have traveled to the UK under Arup, but that number dropped sharply after the Taliban takeover in 2021.
It is believed that thousands of Afghans who worked with British forces are still trapped in the country as the Taliban continue to hunt down those who supported Western forces.
The Ministry of Defense estimates that more than 4,500 people eligible for refuge in the UK under the Arab scheme have not yet emigrated.
But people backing applicants say the requirements for official documents have become more stringent in recent months, leading to more and more applications being turned down.
The bureau said all 37 applicants who received incorrect instructions are safe and have been told not to contact the Taliban afterwards.Photo: Families evacuated in 2021
A Department of Defense spokesman said: “Last month we were informed of an error in recent communications with a group of ARAP applicants and were instructed to review the documents with local authorities.
“The 37 affected applicants have been notified of the error, responded with correct instructions, and are now safe.
“The Department of Defense is currently conducting a review to identify further corrective actions needed to strengthen our policies and processes.
“We sincerely apologize for this error and will continue to support the safe relocation of individuals covered by ARAP, along with the 12,200 people who have already been brought to the UK.”