Afghanistan: Interpreter who worked with Prince Charles ‘let down’ by UK as family left facing Taliban

‘Our only request for Home Office is to act quicker and sooner so that we don’t lose our loved ones,’ says Nazir Ayeen

Tom Batchelor
Sunday 22 August 2021 13:26
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Related video: US military air base in Germany prepares for arrival of Afghan evacuees

A former senior interpreter for the British Army in Afghanistan who worked with Prince Charles said he felt “let down” by the UK's repatriation scheme, as it has left his family facing the Taliban.

Nazir Ayeen, who has lived in Britain for nearly a decade, but only formally won permission to stay in Britain in 2019, said the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy does not allow all of his family to be relocated to the UK despite fearing Taliban reprisals.

He told Times Radio: “It is not generous enough to include our family members.

”I really feel let down. I worked for the UK government, for the UK civilian mission in Afghanistan, and our service and work has direct links with the UK's national security.

“At the moment, our only request for the Home Office is to act quicker and sooner so that we don't lose our loved ones and our family members, and they don't face the Taliban's justice because of our service for this country.”

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in Kabul

Mr Ayeen said life was “terrifying and worrying” for his family since the Taliban regained control over the central Asian country.

Mr Ayeen, who is now in his early 30s, helped the British Army for three years in Helmand Province, and acted as a translator for visiting dignitaries including the Prince of Wales, the foreign secretary and the defence secretary.

He fled to Britain in 2013 and was at first only granted a five-year visa, after which he was granted permanent leave to remain.

Since arriving in the country he has enrolled at Birkbeck, University of London, and took a job with a construction company.

Britain’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Laurie Bristow speaks with a man as officials facilitate the UK evacuation effort in Kabul

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has vowed to “do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours” – but has faced criticism that the government has not been generous enough in its offer of taking Afghans fearing Taliban reprisals.

The government has said it would take up to 20,000 refugees, with 5,000 in the first year.

Ms Patel told Sky News the UK “cannot accommodate 20,000 people all in one go”, but then hinted that the scheme could be expanded to admit double the initial figure for the first year.

“There could be up to 10,000. We are expanding categories of people,” she said.

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