British Army Afghan interpreter hides in Kabul after UK rejection

UK Interior Ministry considers man and family a threat to 'national security'

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An interpreter who worked with the British Army for many years before its final withdrawal from Afghanistan on Saturday is in hiding in Kabul after his application to enter the UK was rejected.

"Abdul-Ali", not his real name, received a letter from Britain's Interior Ministry, which said he and his family were being refused entry because they were a danger to "national security" and their "presence in the UK would not be conducive to the public good".

The verdict has baffled Abdul-Ali and he pleaded with the British government to reconsider.

"The situation is very dangerous for us right now," he told Sky News. "This is an emergency, it is very critical. The Taliban is killing people like me. Interpreters are the main target for the Taliban. They want to kill us.

"It's not trusted outside, it's dodgy. We are hiding in a basement of my friend's house and outside the Taliban is patrolling on the streets, knocking on people's doors."

The National on Monday disclosed that hundreds of Afghans are being spirited out of the country by an unofficial military veterans' network.

With food supplies in the basement hideout running low, Abdul-Ali and his family's fate now rests in the veterans' hands.

"I feel like we've left a friend behind. He's one of us," Cpl Vance Bacon-Sharratt told Sky News. "I wish there was something we could do for him. I feel like the country is indebted to him and we need to help him.

"There are photos of him in the same uniform as us. He wears a British flag on his arm and he believed in what we believed in. Now he's left in a basement somewhere, hiding for his life."

Cpl Bacon-Sharratt said Abdul-Ali was, in his eyes, unequivocally British.

Quote
It's still not clear why they rejected it. I am not a risk, I don't pose any threat
Abdul-Ali

It is not a belief shared by the UK's Interior Ministry, much to Abdul-Ali's consternation.

"I followed all of the application process for me and my family, including all of our biometric data, but after 20 days they sent it back saying your visa application is rejected," he said.

"It's still not clear why they rejected it. I am not a risk, I don't pose any threat."

Abdul-Ali's plight is not an isolated one: official government figures suggest more than 1,100 eligible Afghans and as many as 150 British passport holders have been unable to board evacuation flights.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly offered some comfort earlier on Monday when he told the BBC the government would “look at all kind of options” in moving eligible people to safety.

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Updated: August 30th 2021, 9:22 PM
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