Several thousand contractors and interpreters who worked work for the UK in Afghanistan during its 20-year involvement have been left behind in the country and at risk due to failures of the British government’s resettlement scheme, according to a Commons Select Committee report.
The British Parliament’s Defence Select Committee has criticised the government for failing resettle the people who worked with its forces in Afghanistan, demanding a safe passage for at least 4,600 people.
The Select Committee’s chairman, the Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, said: “The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a dark chapter in UK military history. For the Afghans who cooperated with the UK, and the British troops who served in the country, the nightmare is far from over.
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“They are at risk of harm as a direct result of assisting the UK mission. We can’t change the events that unfolded in August 2021, but we owe it to those Afghans, who placed their lives in danger to help us, to get them and their families to safety.”
The British government has previously been criticised for its failure to relocate people at risk in Afghanistan under its Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).
The MPs said the schemes are “still letting down many who risked their lives and their families’ safety by working for the allies or the Afghan authorities.”
The British government has said that it was working “tirelessly to safely evacuate as many people out of Afghanistan as possible”.
The report said “150,000 British Armed Forces personnel served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021. This came at a cost, with 457 deaths in service, and financial expenditure of £27.7 billion.”