Why don’t Afghan interpreters get to stay?

If you have worked for a Western military in places such as Afghanistan or Iraq, you may think that you would be able to settle in the Western country that you worked for, especially if your life is at risk due to the work you performed. But things are not that straight forward. A new report by the UK parliament’s Commons defence select committee is highly critical of how the UK government has treated Afghan interpreters and other civilians who are not safe in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, the UK government made some concessions towards interpreters who have applied for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Yet many people’s lives are still in limbo, including Nazir Ayeen’s, a former Afghan interpreter now living in the UK, who joins this episode to discuss how the UK and other Western countries treat their former military employees. We are also joined by Dr Sara de Jong, Research Fellow at the Open University. Sara de Jong currently conducts research on the claims for protection, rights and settlement by Afghans and Iraqis who have worked for Western military forces and development organisations, as well as on the activities and strategies of their supporters. She has written a blog about the issue here. Both Sara de Jong and Nazir Ayeen have evidence to the select committe, which you can read here and here.

Please note that this episode was recorded before the Commons report had been published.

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