Danish lawmakers have agreed to relocate 45 Afghan citizens who worked for Denmark’s government in Afghanistan and to offer them residency in the European country for two years.
The plan applies to people who worked at the Danish Embassy in Kabul and as interpreters for Danish troops.
Denmark's move to repatriate its employees throws into sharp relief the news this week that the UK rejected applications for resettlement from hundreds of former Afghan staff who served with overseas cultural and language body the British Council.
It comes as Taliban fighters push through Afghanistan after taking the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Ghazni in quick succession, and the US embassy in Kabul urged all American citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately
Current and former Danish embassy employees in Kabul from within the past two years are eligible for relocation, along with their spouses and children.
The effort to get them out of Afghanistan will begin as soon as possible, but will be carried out gradually “so that the embassy still can function,” according to a foreign ministry statement.
“The security situation in Afghanistan is serious. The Taliban are gaining ground and [this] development is accelerating more than many had feared,” the Danish Foreign Ministry said after the relocation plan received broad political support.
“We have a common responsibility to help the Afghans who are now threatened due to their connection and contribution to Denmark’s involvement in Afghanistan,” the ministry said.
Those relocated will be screened both in Afghanistan and upon arrival in Denmark, where they will undergo “a security interview with the immigration authorities and other relevant Danish authorities.”
“It will be a condition for the right to the two-year stay in Denmark that the evacuated persons are not considered to pose a danger to Denmark’s security,” the statement said.
A vote in the 179-seat Folketing legislature later in October when lawmakers reconvene after the summer break, is considered a formality.
End to forced repatriations - for now
The decision to offer refuge to the interpreters came as Denmark also announced a three-month moratorium on forced deportations to Afghanistan.
"We cannot forcibly deport to Afghanistan until October 8 this year, as forced repatriations require that Afghan authorities are ready to receive the individual deported person at the border,” said Danish Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye said.
“However, Denmark will continue to be able to carry out voluntary repatriations.”