Afghan interpreters living in fear in UK
Yesterday’s Mirror reports that Afghan linguists who assisted British troops in Afghanistan as part of George Bush Jr.’s so-called War on Terror (how can one wage war on an abstract noun anyway? Ed.) face a double dilemma.
Firstly, there’s the threat of attacks by UK extremists.
Secondly, there’s the threat of being killed by the Taliban if they return to Afghanistan.
So even with the first threat hanging over them, most are now fighting for visas to remain in the United Kingdom.
Regarding the threat from the Taliban, the Mirror writes:
One, Mohammed Rafi Hottak, last week urged High Court judges to watch a video of the Taliban beheading translators [sic] as “traitors”.
Talking of the threat facing him in the UK, one linguist told the Mirror:
“There are a lot of lunatics in this country and I’m scared.
“There are really extreme people here. I have met them. One told me he wanted to hang me by the tongue. That’s how much he hated me.”
Other countries including the US and Germany have already granted their interpreters asylum while the UK continues to drag its feet, as per usual. Some 260 Afghan interpreters have applied for asylum in the UK but only a handful have so far been granted visas.
Only last month The Guardian reported on the case of one Afghan interpreter who had been refused asylum in the UK. The Guardian piece quotes Stephen Hale, chief executive of the charity Refugee Action, as saying: “Afghan interpreters put their lives on the line to work with British forces, as well as the lives of their families. We cannot abandon them.”