The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been forced to apologize for the ‘reckless’ error, which affected 37 Afghan asylum seekers who were told to get documents stamped by the Taliban.
According to British media reports, the applicants who had worked as interpreters for the UK in Afghanistan are living in hiding and had been told to provide the ministry with birth and marriage certificates in English that had been stamped by the government departments now being run by the Taliban.
Critics claim the move put the applicants in danger as they were effectively being asked to “hand themselves in”.
Speaking to the UK’s Daily Mail, one former translator Rafi Hottak, who worked with the British special forces in Afghanistan and has resettled in Britain, said the error was ‘reckless’. He said: “It was unnecessary and reckless to ask the Afghans to do this. It puts their lives at risk – more than they are already at risk.”
He said it shows that the people working for the UK’s resettlement program “have no understanding of the realities of the Afghans and the dangers they are facing every day.”
The ministry meanwhile was forced to “apologize unreservedly” and launch a review after the error was exposed by Britain’s The Independent.
The Mail reported Sunday that according to the ministry, all 37 of the applicants who were given the wrong instructions are safe and have since been told not to contact the Taliban.
Officials had emailed several applicants asking for documents to be provided with stamps from the Afghan authorities – even though the UK refuses to recognise the Taliban as the new government.
In one case, an Afghan interpreter was told to have his children’s birth certificates and his marriage certificate validated by the Taliban’s ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA).Meanwhile, Dan Jarvis, a Labour MP and former soldier who served in Afghanistan, said: “Asking our Afghan allies to have their papers approved by the Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs is like asking them to sign their own death warrant.”