Afghan Interpreters - let them in the UK? (Poll)

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by OldSnowy, May 16, 2013.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Yes - they risked their lives for us - let them, and their families in

    58 vote(s)
  2. Maybe - those who can prove intimidation should be allowed to the UK

    28 vote(s)
  3. No - give them support to stay and build up their own Country

    28 vote(s)
  4. No - they knew the risks, took the money, and are trying it on via UK Lawyers and gullible Brits

    63 vote(s)
  1. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    BLUF: Several thousand Afghans, once employed by the Army, want to come to the UK, along with their extended families.

    Those who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq will probably have met, and maybe worked alongside, Afghans employed by us. These are mostly interpreters, with others carrying out a range of duties, from radio broadcaster to medical assistant to emptying wastepaper bins.

    The History Bit:
    In Iraq, as TELIC drew down it was clear that some Iraqis who worked for us would find themselves in the shit once we left. A scheme was developed to enable them to stay in Iraq, but to relocate - they were given money to stay. Not long afterwards, many decided that this was not for them, and that they needed to leave Iraq entirely - they were then granted the right to asylum in the UK, and many took advantage of this scheme (keeping the money they'd been given to relocate, of course).

    For HERRICK, some lessons of Iraq were taken on board. The main one of these was that all LECs were to be recruited in Kabul, many hundreds of miles from where they would work, reducing the chances of any intimidation to a minimum. This system worked, and over the last few years several thousand Afghans have worked for the UK Forces; sadly several have been killed, and many others have suffered a variety of injuries (and all were compensated for this). That said there has never been a shortage of willing recruits (without any advertising) and they have been well paid (around the same as an ANA Brigadier, and many, many times what an ANA/ANP/ALP recruit would receive. AFAIK, only a handful has claimed any form of intimidation, and of those only one or two have got a genuine case.

    Now, move to drawdown time. The UK's line is that those who worked for us should stay in Afghanistan and work to build their Country. This view is not necessarily shared by others; for example, the US are letting a few into the USA at a time. But this isn't about our allies - it's about what we do, the UK plc, with these men (there are one or two women, but 99.9% are male) when they claim that they are suffering as a result of being employed by us, and want us to do something about it.

    There is already a campaign to the effect that these brave men and their families must be allowed into the UK, and that we owe that to them for risking their lives for us. This tugs at the heartstrings (and also at the purse strings). Expect this to increase over the next few months, as lawyers and human Rights groups get behind this campaign.

    So, Ladies and Gentlemen of ARRSE, the question is this: should the default be that these men, and their families, be allowed to come to the UK, or should they be helped to stay on in their own country? You can probably tell which way I lean on this matter - I think they are, with a very few worthy exceptions, a bunch of chancers out to make as much as they can, then abandon their own country and heritage for the chance to make even more dosh elsewhere.

    - They've put their lives on the line

    - They've been paid a VERY good wage, knew the risks, and took the money with their eyes open.
    - They did NOT do this for love of the UK HM Queen, etc. They did it for the money. They would have preferred to work for the Yanks (who paid more) anyway.
    - They have NO loyalty or even liking for the UK. Most will use UK asylum to move to Canada, USA, etc.
    - They were all recruited from Kabul, far far away from Helmand, thus reducing the intimidation risk.
    - There have been very few (under 10) claims of intimidation thus far, so is there a genuine problem?
    - We are talking of probably over 5,000 people, plus their families, so over 30,000 in total is quite possible. That’s a lot of Afghans – even if most of the Males do at least speak English!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    P.S. If you don't know what you are talking about here, please don't vote - I'm looking at you, BBint, GreyLancer, Etc, Etc......
  3. As we are trying to control Immigration to the UK this wont go down well. Next every Embassy cleaner in every dodgy country around the world will be on this.
  4. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    On the other hand, if we are going to allow people in from certain parts of the world I'd rather they were individuals who a) have previously shown some form of loyalty to the UK and b) have a reason to be grateful and therefore demonstrate continuing loyalty. Makes a lot more sense than the current situation whereby many of those from the smae parts of the world come here but seem hell-bent on destroying us.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. The only comment ref 'terps in Afghanistan I make is that they worked for the US, mind you this was in KMTC, of three I worked with all three did live in Kabul, only one had applied to work and live in the States and the rings he had to jump through to even be considered were amazing. He passed everything and AFAIK he's over there now with his family, immediate not extended.

    Perhaps if we were to have a stringent vetting process similar to the Americans then in my view yes we should allow them and their immediate family in.

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
    • Like Like x 4
  6. Forastero

    Forastero LE Moderator

    I wonder which way you voted..!
    • Like Like x 3
  7. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    They are loyal to the UK for as long as the UK is their paymaster. If someone else offers a better deal, their loyalty ends.

    No complaints about that as they are working for a living, and that is the way business works. There was no relocation offer on the table when they took the money, and they knew the risks they faced when they did so.
  8. My opinion on this is that extended families should not be allowed in - that is giving potential terrorists a back door into the UK. Immediate families I have sympathy for but I agree - there must be a proven case of potential death.
  9. Some of our terps were fantastic. worked hard, long hours, and often getting called in at all kinds of hours to assist us with dealing with seriously wounded civilians, "suspected" insurgents, and ANSF.
    One in particular was especially good and helped us understand some of the social aspects of afghan life and culure.
    Another one had to be sacked as he'd been getting up to all sorts of naughtyness, fraud and security breaches.

    I'd like to have voted with something along the lines of 'it depends on the individual, their personal risk and their value to us'
    I disagree with a blanket ban or acceptance simply based on a job they hold/held.
    • Like Like x 5
  10. I heard a report about this on Radio 4 the other day and of course felt some sympathy for their plight given they are on station assisting our forces.

    But then there is the argument about holding down immigration to allowing skilled trades and the today program never outlined (as they wouldn't) the negative argument.

    Do we know how much these people are being paid? Will they get a end of contract bonus when we eventually leave?

    If this is the case and we are talking about good money there is nothing to stop them moving to other parts of the country or even Dubai or other Middle East subject to visa.
  11. Each case should be treated on its individual merit and no general precedent set.
    • Like Like x 7
  12. They knew the risks when they started to work as an Interpreter and were happy with that and to take the massive pay. As such, they have no reason to come to the UK to live.

    Why do they need to go to the UK anyway? Surely Afghanistan is stabilised and peaceful enough for them to stay. (now where is that sarcasm smiley?)
  13. No blanket policy one way or the other. They should apply if they wish and be dealt with on a case by case basis. They should also have to work for 2 years in the UK before being eligible for any state benefits; however, I'm quite sute their financial compensation from their work would support this!
  14. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    Fair response. Mine was a general point and all those caveats about broad statements apply. On balance, however, I'd suggest that if they were willing to take the money they're less likely to be as 'religiously' pre-disposed as some.
  15. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    I would suggest that might be a little niaive.

    My experience with interpreters was more Iraq than Afghanistan, but there were a number of LECs there who were very happy to work for two masters. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the pay is actually just a side bonus for some of them, with access to ISAF establishments the primary aim.