Some Afghans who helped UK during war will be left behind, defence minister admits

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Ministers have acknowledged that not everyone who helps the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan will be repaid by allowing them to escape to Britain.

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Defense Minister James Happy told lawmakers in a parliamentary exchange that under the Afghan Rehabilitation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) it is “not possible” to provide aid to all lawmakers who are considered at risk.

Labor MP Clive Efford said he and other lawmakers knew of people who “assisted with our operations in Afghanistan” and who “clearly qualified” who were being denied under the plan.

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“Certainly the minister accepts that these people are at serious risk, and surely they should qualify under category one? Yet they have been denied,” he said.

Boris Johnson said during the Kabul airlift earlier this month that Britain would “help the Afghan friends of this country, who guide, translate and serve alongside our soldiers and officers, sometimes in the heat of war for their courage and Proven loyalty.”

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But Defense Minister Mr Happy, responding on Monday for the government, said: “I know it is a disappointment to many members of the House who are working hard to support the people who live in Afghanistan, and who They consider themselves at risk.

“But it is not possible for us to take out all those who had links with the British Armed Forces under the Arap plan. So the terms were sent as strictly as they were.”

He said 15,000 people were brought under airlift from Kabul.

At least hundreds of Afghans were accepted under the aid policy, but those who could not be airlifted were told they would be allowed to come to the UK by other means.

But lawmakers had earlier warned that the number of people approved for the scheme was far less than those who should be eligible.

Europe is preparing itself for an increase in the number of people traveling as refugees from Afghanistan in light of the Taliban takeover of the country, which the US and other NATO forces had completed their return from a 20-year occupation. .

Home Secretary Priti Patel has in recent months called for harsher treatment of people trying to flee for asylum in Britain, including ordering dangerous “pushback” of small boats across the Channel and those arriving by small boat. including increasing the criminal penalty for

The government says it will allow 20,000 Afghan refugees to come to the UK over the next five years and “start a new life in safety”, in addition to those who are allowed to come to the UK under ARAP – but in irregular circumstances Those set to travel face the same hostile reception as others on small boats.

Defense Minister Mr Happy said: “311 people were called forward, so they have successfully applied and been cleared by the UKBI for travel, but we were unable to get them on a plane.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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