Britain apologises for asking Taliban validated documents for resettlement

The British Ministry of Defence has apologised to Afghan applicants for a resettlement scheme who were previously instructed to visit Taliban-run departments to have their documents validated and approved.

According to the Guardian report, the UK Ministry of Defense’s mistake affected applications to the Afghan relocations and assistance policy scheme (ARAP), which aims to relocate Afghan citizens who worked with the British government or helped its armed forces in Afghanistan. 

The Guardian stated that the UK MoD had asked applicants to provide birth and marriage certificates bearing stamps from the de-facto Afghan government departments, and the MoD initially denied the practice. However, the ministry eventually admitted to the mistake “we corrected the mistake and urgently strengthened our internal guidelines to ensure this does not happen again”. the MoD spokesperson said. “We apologise unreservedly and continue to work tirelessly to move eligible people to safety,” he added. 

ARAP, the organization that facilitates the resettlement of eligible Afghans to the UK, also apologized for any distress caused by incorrect messages sent to applicants. “We understand that some of you may have received communications from Arap telling you to visit the local authorities or ministry of foreign affairs to obtain new documentation for your relocation to the UK. If you received one of these messages, this was incorrect and we apologise for any misunderstanding or distress caused by this message.” 

According to the Guardian one Afghan interpreter was told his marriage certificate and his children’s birth certificates had to be validated by Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs. He attempted to get his marriage certificate verified at the Taliban’s ministry of justice. The interpreter remains in Afghanistan, waiting for help to transfer to a third country before the UK. He is currently in hiding and unable to work.

The British government has promised to resettle up to 20,000 eligible Afghans, but the delays in the process of applications have drawn criticism. 

According to UK Home Office data, 11,212 people were resettled in the UK under ARAP, more than 6,200 Afghans were relocated between July and September 2021. This dropped to 732 in the last quarter of 2021. One year on, only 743 were admitted in the last quarter of 2022.