Afghan judge wins review of asylum case to have his children rescued from Kabul

London's high court rules decision not to evacuate them was 'illogical'

London's high court has ordered the Home Office to reconsider the application to evacuate the children of a former Afghan judge from Kabul over fears for their safety. EPA
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A former Afghan judge who was employed by the British embassy in Kabul has won a review of the Home Office's decision not to allow his children to join him in the UK.

The Home Office had refused permission for his four children to join him and his wife on the grounds their cases were “not exceptional” — despite the court hearing evidence that some of them had been captured and tortured by the Taliban in a bid to reveal where he was.

However, London’s high court has described the Home Office's decision as “illogical” and said there was a 95 per cent chance they would face harm from the Taliban due to their father’s job.

It has granted permission for the decision to be reviewed.

Mrs Justice Steyn described the reasoning behind the decision as “illogical and irrational”.

“In my judgment, the claimants have succeeded in showing that the reasoning process was so seriously flawed as to render the decisions illogical and irrational,” she said.

“First, the risk to the claimants, based on the first claimant’s role, was assessed by the Ministry of Defence's Defence Afghan Relocation and Resettlement Intimidation Adviser.

“The Intimidation Adviser assessed that, by reason of the first claimant’s role, the other claimants were at the same high level of risk as their father.”

She said this meant that they were almost certain or highly likely to be subject to reprisal by the Taliban or criminals.

“Such a level of risk could not rationally be regarded as other than compelling,” the judge continued.

“His work involved a close partnership with the British embassy in Kabul and many of the criminals he convicted, including dangerous drug producers and dealers, have been released by the Taliban.

“The British embassy paid part of his salary and provided him and his family with assistance with personal protection due to the risks associated with his work.

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport in August 2021 in an attempt to evacuate as the Taliban take control of the country. AFP

“In recognition of the role he played in delivering the UK mission in Afghanistan, and the high risk of serious harm he faces as a consequence, he and his wife were assessed as being eligible for relocation to the United Kingdom under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.”

The Afghan judge, who has been given anonymity, was evacuated from Afghanistan in early August this year with his wife and they are now in the UK.

Their children are unmarried and had been living with them. Some were students and those who had jobs have lost them after the Taliban takeover.

Under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap), which was launched in April 2021 for locally employed staff and other personnel and their families who had worked with the UK in Afghanistan, his children had their cases rejected in July.

“The reason for refusal of [the fourth and third claimants] is because it was the panel’s view that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate exceptional and compelling risks to their safety, security or vulnerabilities to warrant relocation,” the rejection letter said.

However, after hearing the evidence, Mrs Justice Steyn quashed the decision to reject them.

“For the reasons I have given, the claimants have succeeded and it follows that the decisions should be quashed. I grant the renewed application for permission,” she said.

So far, about 10,000 people have been brought to the UK under the Arap programme since it was launched in 2021.

But the government has come under increased criticism over the speed of relocations and concerns for those who were still in Afghanistan and possibly at risk after the Taliban took over the country last year.

Updated: November 04, 2022, 3:02 PM
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