ARAP: Interpreters stranded in Afghanistan face year long wait

The Liberal Democrats have called out the ‘glacial pace’ of the Afghan interpreters relocation scheme.

New analysis conducted by the Liberal Democrats shows that, at the current pace, Afghan interpreters left stranded in the country risk facing a year long wait for their checks to travel to the UK to be cleared.

Since 28 August, just 50 applications to the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme have completed Home Office checks which enable them to be relocated to the UK. With 850 applicants waiting for checks to be completed, at the current rate the backlog will not be cleared until November 2022.

Following reports of a Ministry of Defence data breach, revealing the personal details of some of those who have passed checks but are yet to get out of the country, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Defence Jamie Stone labelled this new analysis “shocking”, and warned the Government that a failure to evacuate all those who helped UK troops would be “a stain on our nation’s reputation”.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Defence, Jamie Stone MP, commented: “An investigation into the data breach is of course needed, but that alone does nothing to help the vulnerable Afghan interpreters stranded on the ground right now.

Jamie Stone

“These people put their lives on the line to help our troops, and now have been put in even more danger by this appalling mistake.

“We owe them a debt of honour, but instead many of them are facing shocking waits for help.

“If the Government doesn’t sort out the glacial pace of the application process and get interpreters to safety, it will be a stain on our nation’s reputation.”

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