David Cameron's Afghan Translator Whom Taliban Dubbed 'Infidel Who'd Die Like a Dog' Denied Refuge
07:02 GMT 03.08.2021 (Updated: 07:08 GMT 03.08.2021)
More than 40 former military commanders earlier signed an open letter warning “time is of the utmost essence” to help Afghans who served alongside British forces to settle in the UK in the face of a “resurgent Taliban” as US and NATO withdraw forces from the country.
A former Afghan interpreter who once worked with ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been repeatedly denied sanctuary
in Britain, preventing him from being rescued from the Taliban*, a retired senior British officer has warned, according to the Daily Mail.
Known as Shaffy, the 32-year old father-of-five worked for the British military in Afghanistan
until January 2013, both on the frontline and with visiting senior officials, such as Cameron. The translator has seen his application rejected multiple times in line with the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) because of how he was dismissed from his job, which he calls “an injustice that could cost me my life”.
Shaffy was cited as saying he had six weeks to “save my family… before the official pull out of Western forces that will give the Taliban the freedom to hunt us down as they have told us they will”.
American and coalition forces began the Afghan pullout in May, when US President Joe Biden promised to have all troops out of the country by September and the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The latter had served as the pretext for the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Retired Major General Charlie Herbert, who worked with Shaffy, has taken up the case of the man he extols as an “awesome guy”.
“Shaffy worked in Helmand for the best part of six years for a dozen different British Army units and during that time received numerous commendations. When I met him in 2010 he was the interpreter for the battlegroup Chief of Staff. He was an outstanding interpreter – held in the highest regard by all who worked with him,” the former commander of British Forces in Helmand is cited as saying. He adds:
“Of all the interpreters I know of still left in Afghanistan, this case stands out as perhaps the most significant miscarriage of justice. I believe he was badly wronged when dismissed without right to appeal in 2013, and to abandon him now to the hands of the Taliban is to multiply that injustice a thousand fold.”
According to UK Defence sources, Shaffy’s employment was terminated for sexually threatening a female officer. The Afghan translator had vehemently denied the allegations.
“Given the questionable circumstances of his dismissal after six years of exemplary service, his application should be reconsidered and he should be allowed to put forward representation,” added the former NATO adviser.
Shaffy, once a senior translator with British forces stationed in Afghanistan, was branded an “infidel spy” by Taliban, with the group vowing he would “die like a dog” after he was shown on British and Afghan TV standing alongside then-prime minister David Cameron during a visit to Helmand in 2011.
Herbert is described as having spoken to key figures in the Afghan interpreter’s case, who now deny he was involved in any sexual threats. It also appears that Shaffy and other interpreters may have “clashed” with a female interpreter manager who had then arrived on what was her first operational tour. The translator was subsequently dismissed “without any apparent due process or right to appeal,” according to Herbert.
‘Time is of the Essence’
Retired Major General Charlie Herbert was one of 40 senior officers who last week signed an open letter, co-ordinated by the Sulha Alliance, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warning
that “time is of the utmost essence” to help Afghans who served alongside British forces to settle in the UK.
In the letter, they described the existing Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) as a “positive step”, but added the policy is not “being conducted with the necessary spirit of generosity required to protect our former colleagues from an indiscriminate and resurgent Taliban”.
It was added that “far too many applications” to settle in the UK are currently being rejected. Qualifying for relocation requires that interpreters prove they were in an “exposed” role by serving with foreign troops in the country that now puts them in “imminent danger”. Over 1,000 – 35 percent of the total number of Afghans who worked for the UK – had their employment terminated by Britain without the right of appeal or challenge.
The Taliban are now said to control 80 percent of the country, with Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani on Monday blaming
America’s swift withdrawal of troops
for sweeping gains by the group.
“An imported, hasty” peace process not only failed to bring peace but created doubt and ambiguity" among Afghans, said Ghani in his address to Parliament.
He claimed that Afghan forces had the “capacity" to defeat the insurgents. Ferocious fighting is taking place in Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand province, despite persistent US and Afghan air strikes, with the Taliban believed to have seized a TV station. Attempts to capture Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, have continued after rocket strikes hit its airport on Sunday.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.