Interpreter who saved British soldiers’ lives in Afghanistan refused visa to UK

Mohamed Nabi Wardak [Image: Change.org]

An Afghan interpreter who saved the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan has been refused entry to the UK despite alleged threats against him by the Taliban.

Mohammed Nabi Wardak is now homeless on the streets of Athens after being turned away by the UK government.

He risked his life during his three-years of service helping the British Army in conflict zones across Afghanistan such as the Helmand Province.The father-of-four ended up having to flee Afghanistan after receiving alleged death threats from local Taliban commanders.

Mr Wardak claims that he received assurances that the British government would assist him. However, he has now been informed that he and his family “do not qualify for relocation to the UK”.

The 30-year-old asylum seeker said: “The army said they liked me, that I did a good job. I saved lives in the battlefield, taking part in ambush operations. I did all I could, but they’ve left me behind.

“They should protect my children. My children are in danger. I don’t want them to be punished because of me. I left my house and my children for them, why are they forgetting that?”

Mr Wardak was a British Army interpreter between 2008 and 2011, and he witnessed combat operations in Helmand, Musa Kala and the district of Kajaki.

He won praise from his British military team with one of his commanding officers issuing a letter of recommendation describing him as “an excellent interpreter” and an “extraordinary young man”.

During his time with the British Army, a local Taliban commander visited Mr Wardak’s family home and delivered a sealed letter warning him he was a wanted man.He informed the military of the threats and was told they had been acknowledged – but nothing was done.

The threats later escalated and Mr Wardak was told he was on a target list and attacked by two men close to his home.

Fearing for his life, he left the army and fled to Turkey in 2016 after the Taliban took control over areas close to his village.

After 16 months, Mr Wardak arrived by boat in Greece hoping to seek asylum in the European Union.

In June, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that dozens of Afghan interpreters and their families should be given the right to stay in the UK.

Before the U-turn only those who were working in December 2012 were eligible for asylum.

However it is believed that Mr Wardak does not qualify for this support because he voluntarily left the army on two occasions – once when his mother was unwell and then after the direct threats from the Taliban.

Mr Wardak has pleaded with the UK Government to look assess his case again.A government spokesperson told the Metro: “We recognise the vital role interpreters and local staff played in operations in Afghanistan.

“We are the only nation with a permanent expert team based in Kabul to investigate claims of intimidation, offering tailored security advice and support to individuals and their families.

“Over 1,200 former Afghan staff and their families have been relocated to the UK through our redundancy scheme.

“Those who have been offered relocation are the ones who have faced the greatest danger working alongside British troops in Helmand province.

“The defence secretary recently announced an expansion of the scheme allowing for a further 200 visas to be issued.”

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