Ministers were last night facing mounting pressure to give Afghan interpreters sanctuary in Britain immediately as more came forward to reveal their plight.
The shocking stories of 48 interpreters who worked alongside British forces and say they have since been abandoned to the Taliban are laid bare in the Daily Mail today.
Around 150 interpreters are believed to have been denied sanctuary in the UK because they do not meet qualifying criteria for a visa.
Those left behind have revealed how they have faced death threats from the Taliban, have been unable to work, and are even living in hiding since they were employed by British troops.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee, said: ‘This is taking too long to conclude, we made a commitment to look after these people who put themselves in harm’s way to support the British effort.’
One of the 48 interpreters was last night desperately trying to trace his missing family after he was arrested and separated from them when attempting to flee to Britain.
Wazir, who spent three years as the ‘eyes and ears’ of UK troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, described how border guards opened fire as they tried to cross from Iran into Turkey.
Sobbing as he described his final glimpse of his wife Frishtah, 30, his three year-old son Mohammad and daughters Tamaz, six, Iqrah, four, and six month-old Yususra, Wazir, 30, said: ‘The bullets were coming over our heads and everyone ran for cover. I saw my beloved family disappear with other women and children and now they are lost.’ He said they had decided to ‘risk all’ to flee Afghanistan and build a new life in Britain or Germany after death threats from the Taliban. Wazir says he reported them to British authorities in the Afghan capital Kabul but they gave him the impression he was ‘wasting his time’.
His story will give urgency to the demand by 15 MPs highlighted in the Daily Mail yesterday for the Government to give sanctuary to Afghan interpreters who served alongside British soldiers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace met last week to discuss the policy towards translators. It came after the Mail highlighted how ministers had promised 50 interpreters could come to the UK but just two have been allowed so far.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We owe a huge debt of gratitude to interpreters who risked their lives… and claims are being processed as rapidly as possible.’