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Heartache of Afghan translators who are STILL separated from children

Giving each other a brotherly hug, these are just two of the children still at the mercy of the Taliban after they and their families were promised sanctuary in Britain.

Their father Abdul bravely risked his life for Britain as an interpreter alongside UK forces in Afghanistan, making him a target for jihadists.

He and dozens of others were eventually granted sanctuary here, but are heartbroken because they are still separated from their wives and children – despite Government promises to reunite them.

Ministers made the pledge two years ago, yet at least 100 children and wives have been left behind.

The risks they face were starkly illustrated when a school was blown up in Kabul on Saturday, killing 85 and injuring 150, many of them schoolgirls – the latest in a series of bombings blamed on the Taliban.

Mustafa, seven, and Muzzammel, five, (both pictured) are just two of the children still at the mercy of the Taliban after they and their families were promised sanctuary in Britain

In a murderous weekend, at least 11 people were then killed by a bomb that struck a bus on Sunday night in Zabul province.

The Daily Mail’s Betrayal of the Brave campaign has helped many interpreters who risked all on the frontline beside British troops in Afghanistan to get refuge in the UK.

But in a fresh betrayal, their families are fighting to survive without them. Translators speak of their desperation and accuse the Government of enforcing a ‘cruel separation’ of up to six years.

One wife begged her husband to leave the safety of Britain for Kabul so they ‘could at least be together’, while another spoke of feeling suicidal.

Around 110 wives and children are waiting to be reunited with their husbands in the UK even though immigration rules were relaxed in 2019 by the then home secretary Sajid Javid to make it easier for translators ‘to build their future in the UK with their loved ones’.

The changes were hailed as life-saving for some 30 interpreters who were given sanctuary in Britain and arrived without their wives and children.

But after ’empty promises’ and ‘endless excuses’ only around 20 are thought to have made it to the UK.

Abdul, 35, who spent more than two years on the frontline and came to the UK with eldest son Shakeel, 15, in 2015, said he felt daily pain because of the separation from his wife and sons Mustafa, seven, and Muzzammel, five. 

Their father Abdul, 35, (pictured) risked his life an interpreter alongside the UK forces in Afghanistan. He was given sanctuary but remains separated from his wife and children

Their father Abdul, 35, (pictured) risked his life an interpreter alongside the UK forces in Afghanistan. He was given sanctuary but remains separated from his wife and children

His wife was pregnant with Muzzammel when he left, and he has only met his youngest son once during a return visit to Afghanistan.

He said: ‘I am heartbroken. We were so grateful when the rules were changed to allow us to be together, but what is happening is cruel.

‘We have been forced to live apart so long and at a time with the worries of the pandemic and now the withdrawal of British and American forces that can allow the Taliban to find and threaten our families.

‘The Taliban kidnaps and kills family members to punish interpreters they can’t reach.

‘The delays are devastating. My children ask if I don’t love them because we are apart.’

He said the Home Office has had his family’s passports since August 2019 but no visas have been issued.

Afghan veteran Major Ed Aitken, founder of the Sulha Alliance, which supports translators, said: ‘After the trauma of the war where interpreters stood shoulder to shoulder with British troops… can you imagine the extra mental health damage the incompetence of this Government has inflicted on these men and their families, to whom we owe so much?

‘Because interpreters trusted Sajid Javid’s promise that they could ‘build their future in the UK with their loved ones’ in recognition of their service, they feel let down and depressed.’

His colleague Sara De Jong added: ‘With 5,000 Taliban prisoners released since last year and less than 150 days till the US withdraws from Afghanistan, families should be urgently reunited to protect wives and children against revenge.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We have relocated 1,358 locally employed Afghan staff and their families to the UK, and aim to process all others who are still awaiting a decision as quickly as possible.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk