Give asylum to Afghan interpreters
It is hard to imagine a more compelling case for asylum than that of the Afghan refugee featured on page eight today. Mohammad was injured in a Taliban bomb attack while working as an interpreter for British forces. He has fled to Britain because he fears reprisals from the Taliban if he remains in Afghanistan and he is now living in Leicester.
However, his application for asylum was initially refused by the UK Border Agency, which said that he had not offered sufficient proof of his identity and his work with British forces.
Thankfully, the agency has now withdrawn that decision and is reviewing Mohammad's claim again.
It says the increased level of publicity around this case has led to "new and significant information, which was not provided during the application process, coming to light".
****Best Deals**** Van Insurance for 17-24 Yr Old Drivers - Contact Insure365 on 01782 898188 for a quotation, Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Tuesday, June 25 2013
We hope this will lead to Mohammad being granted asylum.
The whole point of the asylum system is to give refuge to people who are at risk of oppression and victimisation in their own country.
We have seen only too clearly that the Taliban are ruthless and merciless, and one can easily imagine the risk to Afghans who have worked with British forces.
That means this country owes Mohammad a particular duty of care. His life is at risk because he supported and helped our mission in Afghanistan.
And that brings us on to a more general point about the safety of interpreters who have helped our forces in Afghanistan and the debt that we owe to these people.
At least 21 Afghan interpreters have been killed over the past five years and many more have been wounded.
Many are now anxious about what will happen to them and their families when British forces leave Afghanistan in 2014.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament in September that the Ministry of Defence was working on a programme to ensure their protection.
In our view that must involve safe passage to this country and refuge here. It is a moral obligation that has to be fulfilled.