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Afghan Interpreter To Stay In UK After 'Being Treated Like A Criminal'

Hafizzulah Husseinkhel waited two-and-a-half years before being granted the right to remain in Britain.

An Afghan man who worked as an interpreter for the British Army in Afghanistan has been granted the right to remain in the UK after years of uncertainty.

Hafizzulah Husseinkhel, 27, waited two-and-a-half years for the decision and said he felt as if the Home Office has been treating him like a criminal.

Speaking to Forces News after learning that he would be granted right to remain, Hafiz said: "I'm not really happy…the way they treat me…Two-and-a-half years...they do not treat ordinary asylum seekers in that way."

When asked if there was any sense of relief that the decision went his way, he said "a little bit".

He said: "If I described the last two-and-a-half years that [would] be a big shame to the Home Office, [how] they treat the interpreters who help, in a particular way, this country.

"If someone tied your hands and feet for two-and-a-half years and just gave you mental punishment, how would you be able to make a plan for your future?"

Hafiz suffered serious injuries during four years working on the frontline in Afghanistan interpreting for US and British forces.

Hafiz in Afghanistan

Despite suffering injuries, Hafiz survived the conflict but was living in turmoil as he waited to see if he would be granted Asylum in the UK. He said:

“When you walk in a patrol, there’s a risk of explosions, or snipers - being shot.

"I put my life at risk to make their forces safe, and they’ve treated me like an animal, a criminal.

"I lost my family, I lost my country - I lost all my life to come here and make a better life, and this is how they treat me."

During the two and a half years, he was in and out of three detention centres, held alongside criminals and handcuffed while his claim was considered by the Home Office.

Hafiz said the Home Office wanted to return him to Austria; the first European country he was fingerprinted in when he fled Afghanistan. But Austria denied him asylum, so he travelled to the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

"We recognise that local Afghan interpreters worked in dangerous and challenging situations and the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those in need of protection.

"Following a review of Mr Husseinkhel’s asylum application he has been granted asylum.

"All asylum claims are considered on their individual merits."