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13 Apr, 2015 15:23

​‘Abandoned’: Afghan interpreter refused UK asylum shot by Taliban

An Afghan interpreter who served alongside UK forces in combat, and was later refused asylum in Britain despite the dangers he faced, has spoken out after being been shot by the Taliban.

The interpreter, identified only as “Chris,” the nickname given to him by British troops, was shot in the leg during an assassination attempt near his home in Khost Province, eastern Afghanistan.

The 26-year-old’s infant son was also wounded in what he says was just the latest attempt to kill or capture him by insurgents, who see him as a collaborator with the US-led occupation of the country.

READ MORE: ‘Targeted by Taliban’: Afghan interpreter who worked for British Army denied UK asylum

Despite the risk to his life resulting from his work with British forces, Chris claims that the UK government still won’t allow him to resettle there.

He claims he has presented evidence to the UK authorities of the up to 10 attempts to kill him, each time in vain.

He told the Daily Mail: “I worked outside military bases with UK forces where I took huge personal risk on a daily basis – I served with distinction, placing myself in mortal danger to save my British colleagues.

My family and I have experienced a serious threat to life as a consequence of working for the British, resulting – most recently – in me being shot on December 26 when the Taliban came to my village looking for me.

My son was hit too. This only happened because of my work with the British. The government has totally forgotten its allies who helped them during the worst of times here. I have seen British soldiers die in front of me and I have collected soldiers’ remains – now I think I am being abandoned,” he said.

Only one interpreter out of over 300 who served with UK forces has been given leave to resettle in Britain.

Chris claims he has fallen foul of a legal stipulation which dictates that resettlement rights are only available those who contributed at least a year’s continuous service after December 2011. He served between 2008 and 2011.

In January, a British appeal court ruled that MPs must offer a response to claims that the government failed to extend equal treatment to Afghani and Iraqi interpreters.

READ MORE: Afghan interpreters win right to challenge ‘discriminatory’ UK resettlement terms

The allegations were sparked by contrasting resettlement schemes offered to each respective group.

When UK forces withdrew from Iraq, provincial interpreters who had worked for the British forces were offered a special assistance program.

As part of the scheme, they could opt for a one-off financial payment, an open-ended invitation to enter Britain, or long-term resettlement in the UK.

The Afghan redundancy scheme was highly inferior, lawyers argue.