Britain will have “blood on its hands” if Afghan interpreters who served alongside UK troops are killed by the Taliban, a senior military figure has warned after it emerged that 200 former translators had been denied asylum in the UK.
Former general Lord Dannatt said that UK has a “moral obligation” and “debt of honor” to provide care for those who served with British forces.
His remarks come as numerous former interpreters have spoken out about being refused entry to the UK following Taliban death threats.
On Thursday it was revealed the British government is considering paying £15,000 (US$23,500) to rehome Prime Minister David Cameron’s former interpreter, who was facing threats from the extremist group, within Afghanistan.
“We have a moral obligation to look after them. If they feel they are not able to live their previous life they have earned the right to come and live in this country,” Dannatt told the Telegraph.
“I know that immigration is a real problem but the number we are talking about is so small that actually making a fuss about it is a real embarrassment. We have a debt of honor.
“If we are failing in our moral obligation and have a genuine concern that people are at threat, and that threat is carried out, then their blood is on our conscience and on our hands.
“The fear is that having been marked men or women who have worked with us they become targets for those who want to take revenge. We have a duty to stand by them,” he added.
Those who have been refused asylum have been told to take safety precautions such as moving house or changing their car in order to avoid the Taliban.
Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt expressed the importance that interpreters “continue to contribute positively to the future of their country.”
“Our policy towards interpreters enables our local employees to continue to contribute positively to the future of their country, rewards those who worked for us in the most challenging roles, and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that our former employees are safe from any danger caused by their employment with us.
“I have met many locally employed staff when visiting our forces. I have always been deeply impressed by their courage and their commitment to the future of Afghanistan,” she said.
One former interpreter who had received death threats from the Taliban spoke to RT from inside the migrant camps at Calais.
Khushal, whose attempts to enter to the UK are being aided by his former British Army commander, said he had not yet heard from the Home Office, but could not stay in Kabul for fear of his own safety.