Afghan Employees of Britain Provided Temporary Accommodation in Welsh Military Base

Dozens of Afghans who put their lives on the line assisting British troops in the fight against the Taliban are set to be housed temporarily at a military base in Wales.

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By month’s end, East Camp, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) residential area in St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, expects to shelter 50 individuals, with a bunch more to follow the next month.

This location, with a capacity for 180, will serve families qualifying for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap).

This initiative targets aiding individuals and their kin who’ve worked for—or with—the UK government and British forces in Afghanistan, like interpreters, now escaping the Taliban’s clutches.

Ministers have caught flak over the way they’ve managed Arap applications, plagued by hold-ups and, by the government’s own admission, faulty decision-making.

Last month, The Independent disclosed that over 200 Afghans who sought refuge in the UK had been hanging on for a British authority decision for two years.

Activists argue that these Afghans, claiming to have aided British forces, are stuck in uncertainty, with many fearing for their very lives.

Ministers last summer didn’t meet their goal to sort through a backlog of some 8,000 pending applications.

Interpreters for the British army and Afghans who stood with UK special forces are among those still wishing to resettle in Britain, nearly three years post the Taliban’s capture of their homeland in August 2021.

An exposé by The Independent, Lighthouse Reports, and Sky News showed the grim fate of soldiers from two specific units—tortured and killed by the Taliban after the UK snubbed their pleas for help.

Reports confirmed these soldiers were compensated, trained, and fought in unison with British special forces before Kabul’s downfall.

Subsequently, the UK government conceded that flawed decisions led to the refusal of sanctuary for some Afghan champions.

The government committed to re-evaluate 2,000 claims from those with verifiable ties to Afghan specialist units.

Last year, close to 3,000 Afghans, a lot of whom served the British army, were left in limbo in Islamabad, Pakistan, for months. The UK had ceased charter flights and insisted refugees secure their own UK accommodation before arrival.

An Afghan interpreter, once with the British forces, was sent back to the Taliban from Pakistan while awaiting application processing. The UK government conceded his relocation after he was forced back to Afghanistan. He eventually made it back to Pakistan.

An MoD spokesperson declared: “We owe immense thanks to those courageous Afghans who took risks working alongside our forces supporting the UK mission.

“To kickstart Arap-eligible families’ settled life in the UK, the government’s providing transitional and permanent housing from the Defence Estate, including at East Camp St Athan.

“Eligible Afghans will stay there briefly, roughly six weeks, before they transition to permanent housing.”

Eligible Afghan nationals can enter the UK with a spouse, dependent children, and other family members the MoD and Home Office deem eligible and appropriate for relocation.

Arrivals under the Arap program get indefinite leave to remain.

The MoD is collaborating with the Welsh government and Vale of Glamorgan Council to manage the initiative considerately, with local residents’ interests at heart.

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