Daily US Times: After a government decision to expand a relocation scheme, dozens more Afghan interpreters who worked with British forces in Afghanistan will be eligible to settle in the UK.
Under the original scheme announced in 2013, about 450 interpreters moved to the UK with their families.
But some of those who were ineligible said they were targeted by the Taliban.
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said expanding the scheme was “the honourable thing to do”.
Only those who had worked with the British on the frontline for a year or more, and were then made redundant, were eligible to apply, under the original scheme.
This meant hundreds of Afghan interpreters who had worked with the British forces in Helmand province before they left in 2014 did not qualify for resettlement in the UK, leading to criticism from some former British military personnel and current MPs.
Now, following discussions between the home and defence secretaries, the government has announced an expansion of the resettlement scheme.
The decision means that Afghan interpreters who worked on the frontline with British troops for 18 months or more, between May 2006 and December 2014, but then resigned, will also be eligible to apply to resettle in the UK along with their families.
On a joint visit at Stanford Military Training Area in Norfolk, Mr Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the expansion of the relocation scheme.
The defence secretary described the rule change as a “thank you” to the interpreters for their loyal service.
About 100 more Afghan former interpreters will be eligible to apply to resettle in the UK under the new rules.
“It’s right that we do right by them, the very people that have served alongside our forces in one of the most hostile and difficult places in the world,” Ms Patel said.