MoD apologises for asking Afghans to get Taliban’s approval to come to UK

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The Ministry of Defence has apologised aft an probe recovered Afghan applicants to a resettlement strategy were told they could lone travel to the UK if their documents were approved by the Taliban.

The Independent revealed that the mistake affected applicants to the Afghan relocations and assistance argumentation strategy (Arap), which aims to relocate Afghan citizens who worked with the UK authorities oregon helped its equipped forces successful Afghanistan. The MoD decides which applicants – who whitethorn use with their families – are eligible for relocation to Britain.

Arap differs from the Afghan citizens resettlement strategy (ACRS), which works to relocate members of the nationalist and susceptible radical to the UK.

Citing emails sent from MoD caseworkers to Arap applicants, the Independent recovered applicants were required to supply commencement and matrimony certificates successful English and bearing stamps from Afghan authorities departments. The Taliban has ruled Afghanistan since the summertime of 2021.

The MoD initially denied the signifier but an MoD spokesperson yet said the ministry has “swiftly corrected” the mistake and was “urgently reinforcing our interior guidance and processes to guarantee this does not hap again”.

“We apologise unreservedly and proceed to enactment tirelessly to determination eligible radical to safety,” the spokesperson said.

The Arap lawsuit squad besides sent an apology email to applicants, stating: “We recognize that immoderate of you whitethorn person received communications from Arap telling you to sojourn the section authorities oregon ministry of overseas affairs to get caller documentation for your relocation to the UK.

“If you received 1 of these messages, this was incorrect and we apologise for immoderate misunderstanding oregon distress caused by this message.”

One Afghan interpreter was told his matrimony certificate and his children’s commencement certificates had to beryllium validated by Afghanistan’s ministry of overseas affairs. He attempted to get his matrimony certificate verified astatine the Taliban’s ministry of justice.

The interpreter remains successful Afghanistan, waiting for assistance to transportation to a 3rd state earlier the UK. He is presently successful hiding and incapable to work.

The UK authorities promised to resettle up to 20,000 eligible Afghans – including 5,000 successful the archetypal twelvemonth – but has been criticised for delays successful the process.

While 11,212 radical were resettled successful Britain nether Arap, the fig of admittances fell successful precocious 2021, aft the Taliban took implicit Afghanistan.

According to Home Office data, much than 6,200 Afghans were relocated nether Arap betwixt July and September 2021. This dropped to 732 successful the past 4th of 2021. One twelvemonth on, lone 743 were admitted successful the past 4th of 2022.

As for ACRS, lone 22 Afghans eligible nether the scheme’s 2nd pathway – designed for susceptible fleeing refugees referred by the United Nations precocious commissioner for refugees – were resettled by the extremity of December.