Thousands of Afghans who helped British forces ‘remain stranded by UK’



Several thousand Afghans who helped British forces before the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 remain stranded and at risk from the Taliban because of failures of the government’s settlement schemes, according to a damning report by MPs.

The defence select committee’s report urged the government to set out what action it is taking to ensure safe passage to the UK for at least 4,600 Afghans, including interpreters and contractors, who worked for UK forces.

Its chairman, the Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, said: “The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a dark chapter in UK military history. For the Afghans who cooperated with the UK, and the British troops who served in the country, the nightmare is far from over.

“They are at risk of harm as a direct result of assisting the UK mission. We can’t change the events that unfolded in August 2021, but we owe it to those Afghans, who placed their lives in danger to help us, to get them and their families to safety.” The government set up the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and later the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) run by the Home Office.

The MoD told the committee that 6,600 people had been relocated by last November under Arap. But it admitted that a further 4,600 Afghans who were eligible under the scheme had not been helped.—Tolonews