Thousands of Afghans in limbo two years after fall of Kabul despite pledge to save those who helped UK troops

Thousands of Afghans who worked alongside British troops are still waiting to be brought to safety in the UK, two years after the fall of Kabul. Despite the government’s promise to eliminate the backlog within days, around 18,000 unique applications under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) remain unprocessed. In addition, 3,400 Afghan men, women, and children who have been approved for relocation are stranded in Afghanistan or stuck in hotels in Pakistan. The failure to act has been criticized, with demands for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to intervene.

Those who worked with the British face revenge killings, arrests, and disappearances under the Taliban regime. Meanwhile, those stuck in Pakistan are afraid to leave their hotels due to expired visas. Former chief of defense staff General Lord Richards described the government’s lack of action as “beyond the pale” and called on the prime minister to resolve the situation. Labour MP and former soldier in Afghanistan Dan Jarvis urged Rishi Sunak to take action and ensure the safety of those in danger. The government has been accused of not having a clear plan to relocate these individuals.

Currently, decisions on Arap applications have been expedited in an attempt to clear the backlog by the end of August. Since June 21, the government has sent out a significant number of rejection letters, finding over 69,000 applications ineligible. Despite receiving a total of 141,000 applications since the launch of the scheme, only 3,527 have been granted eligibility.

Many Afghan citizens, including former interpreters and teachers, are stuck in Afghanistan or Pakistan without access to education, healthcare, or employment. The British government has been criticized for not fulfilling its promises and failing to provide support to those in danger. The government has been urged to appoint a minister to address the situation and ensure the relocation of eligible Afghans. It is seen as a matter of responsibility and not just a housing issue.

Veterans and military chiefs have written to Rishi Sunak, but they have not received a response or a clear plan to address the situation. Pressure is mounting on the government to take action and fulfill its commitment to protect those who risked their lives in support of British troops. It is a matter of urgency to relocate eligible Afghans to the UK and provide them with the safety and security they were promised.

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