Defence chiefs fired more than a THIRD of their Afghan translators – without right to appeal, figures show
- More than 1,000 interpreters had contracts ‘terminated’ without right to appeal
- No fired translator gets a relocation even if they claim to be Taliban targets
- Some say they’re only finding out terminations when applying to come to the UK
Defence chiefs fired more than a third of their Afghan translators – leaving them with no chance of sanctuary from the Taliban.
A total of 1,010 interpreters out of 2,850 – 35 per cent – had their contracts ‘terminated’ without right to appeal, figures reveal.
‘There was a war and if they said we were out, we were out,’ one said. Of the 1,010, 264 were dismissed after serving 12 months or more ‘outside the wire’ in Helmand and so would have otherwise been allowed to the UK.
Defence chiefs fired more than a third of their Afghan translators – leaving them with no chance of sanctuary from the Taliban [File photo]
Last night there were calls for an investigation into the sackings between December 2001 and August 2014.
Crucially, no fired translator is considered for relocation even if they claim to be Taliban targets because of their work for the UK military.
Some translators whose stories have been told by this newspaper’s Betrayal of the Brave campaign claim they are only now finding out they were terminated when applying to come to the UK.
In one case, Ministry of Defence files said an interpreter and teacher who worked with the SAS had been dismissed in 2011 for faking exam results. But evidence suggests that 18 months later he was still employed – raising questions about how records have been kept.
A letter from an officer praised Latif as a ‘capable teacher who has a natural affinity with his students’ a year after MoD books said he was fired.
Latif, who denies faking exam results, only found out he had been sacked when he applied for sanctuary. The MoD said it was investigating.
The 264 dismissed after serving 12 months were all said to have been fired for ‘disciplinary reasons’. These include refusing to obey orders; security concerns such as possession of mobile phones; violence and sexual assault.
But translators dispute many of the sackings. For example, two claim they were told to take their telephones to their rooms by officers. However, more than two dozen spoken to by the Mail accepted they had been dismissed for genuine reasons.
Labour MP Dan Jarvis, a former Army officer, said: ‘These figures require further scrutiny. The Government has some serious questions to answer. At the root of this, we must remember these interpreters put their lives and their family’s lives on the line to work for us… Britain owes them a debt.’
An MoD spokesman said: ‘We are immensely grateful for the contribution of interpreters… However, every dismissal is for a valid reason. We would rightfully be criticised if we employed anybody with links to the Taliban, who sexually assaulted a British soldier, or faked their identification.’
Last night there were calls for an investigation into the sackings between December 2001 and August 2014. Combat is pictured above during the conflict in 2008