Afghanistan

'Do Not Leave Anyone Behind': Veterans And Ex-Afghan Interpreters Protest

One former Afghan interpreter who worked with British forces said: "Please do not leave them behind, evacuate every single one of them."

Military veterans and former Afghan interpreters have been demonstrating outside Parliament, calling for support and protection for interpreters and their families still in Afghanistan.

About 100 interpreters and their supporters gathered in Parliament Square to urge the Government to do more to help those left behind in the country which was rapidly taken over by the Taliban after the withdrawal of Western troops, sparking grave concerns for their safety.

Some of the signs being held up in the air, read: 'Save those who saved your sons in Afghanistan', 'We will be butchered' and 'Do not leave anyone behind'.

Among those demonstrating was a former interpreter who only gave his name as Rafi.

He spent five years working with British forces in southern Afghanistan and was wounded in a Taliban attack while supporting UK soldiers in 2007.

He told Forces News: "I am appealing to the UK Government, to the Parliament, every single MP in the Parliament – please, do what is right, fulfill your moral obligation on behalf of these interpreters and their families, their loved ones.

"You are coming out [of Afghanistan] but you are leaving them, their families and their loved ones to be butchered by the terrorist Taliban."

Rafi added: "Please do not leave them behind, evacuate every single one of them, evacuate them, evacuate their families, evacuate all families."

Watch: Afghan civilians evacuate Kabul on RAF aircraft.

The demonstration coincided with MPs being recalled to Parliament on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

About 900 UK troops and RAF aircraft are helping to evacuate 6,000 people out of the country via the capital Kabul.

On Tuesday night, it was announced some 20,000 Afghans will be welcomed to the UK in the coming years as the Government unveiled the details of a scheme to provide sanctuary for those most at risk of persecution by the Taliban.

The new Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme will target women, children, and others who have been forced to flee their home or face threats of persecution from the Taliban.

There were also signs of: 'Save Afghan children and women' at the protest in central London.

Veterans ex Afghan interpreters demonstrate in Parliament Square over those still in Afghanistan after Taliban takeover 180821 CREDIT BFBS
About 100 people attended the demonstration which coincided with MPs being recalled from summer recess to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

The Government said the new scheme was in addition to the 5,000 Afghans already expected to move to the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which is designed to offer local allies such as interpreters priority relocation to the UK.

The Home Office has already announced restrictions on the ARAP programme have been eased.

A Taliban spokesman has said the insurgents sought no revenge and that "everyone is forgiven" after the group took control of Afghanistan.

Many Afghans have expressed fear that the Taliban will return the country to the brutal rule they used when last in charge, and foreign officials have said they will wait to see if the insurgents make good on their promises.

It was also pledged that women's rights would be honoured – the Taliban's previous regime had been renowned for its harsh treatment of women.

Zabihullah Mujahid clarified on Tuesday that women's rights would be within Islamic law.

If you or someone you know needs support at this time, you can find more information by visiting the British Army website and the Government's website.

Further details about support available can be found on the Forces News website.