The Ministry of Defence says "we apologise unreservedly" after telling Afghan interpreters in hiding they could come to UK – but only if they first ask the Taliban to approve their documents.
UK officials told applicants to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme – for those who helped British forces in Helmand Province – that birth and marriage certificates must be provided in English with stamps from the Afghan government departments, run by the Taliban since the militant group took control of the country.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) initially denied the practice but has now admitted it was wrong and apologised, after an investigation by The Independent newspaper.
Dan Jarvis, a Labour MP and former soldier who served in Afghanistan, said: "Asking our Afghan allies to have their papers approved by the Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs is like asking them to sign their own death warrant.
"These requests by the UK Government show a complete disregard to the grave realities eligible Afghans face, pushing desperate men into perilous situations."
An MOD spokesperson said: "Last month, we were notified of an error in recent communications with a group of ARAP applicants, instructing them to verify documents with local authorities.
"The 37 affected applicants were notified of the error and have since responded to the correct instructions and confirmed they are currently safe."
The MOD added that they are "now conducting a review to identify any further remedial actions needed to strengthen policies and processes".
The spokesperson added: "We apologise unreservedly for this error and will continue supporting ARAP-eligible individuals as we progress their safe relocation, alongside the 12,200 people already brought to the UK."
This comes after interpreters and other Afghans who worked with British forces during the 20-year mission in Afghanistan faced a deadly race to make RAF evacuation flights out of Kabul in August 2021.
More than 15,000 people were flown out of Afghanistan by the RAF in what was the biggest UK airlift since the Second World War.