Crackdown on migrants ‘will endanger the lives of Afghans who helped Britain’

Coalition forces at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul,

Coalition forces evacuate a child at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan (Image: Reuters)

An Afghan interpreter who was injured while helping British forces fight the Taliban fears the government’s crackdown on migrants is putting many more lives at risk.

New rules aim to deny access to the UK asylum system to those arriving irregularly – such as on a small boat crossing the English Channel.

But Rafi Hottak, a former translator for the British Army in Afghanistan, said it meant ex-colleagues who weren’t given the sanctuary they were promised here would be at the mercy of Taliban fighters.

Mr Hottak, 36, left Afghanistan in 2011 – four years after he was injured in an explosion in Helmand province – after receiving threats.

He was initially denied British citizenship, with UK Border Service officials claiming he fabricated his military connections but won on appeal.

Now settled in Birmingham, he is an accountant and father of three children – and also campaigns for the rights of former interpreter colleagues.

Rafi Hottak

Former British Army translator Rafi Hottak fears for Afghans serving in NATO forces (Image: Twitter)

Mr Hottak told Metro: “We are losing valuable lives every day and most of them are people who served with NATO forces in Afghanistan. If the existing systems do not lock them in, they are forced to flee the country and seek asylum.

“Closing asylum routes now means the British government will immediately take their basic human being and tell them: ‘I will not save your life even if you served in the NATO forces and I would rather you were from killed the terrorist Taliban ”.’

More than 21,000 Afghans have been welcomed as part of two programs for Afghans that have supported the British war effort. But the Department of Defense admitted in January that some 71,149 Afghan resettlement and assistance policy requests were still pending processing.

About 4,300 people have been allowed to come here but remain in Afghanistan fearing reprisals from the Taliban for collaborating with the British.

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Justin Scaccy

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