MoD apologises for asking Afghans to get Taliban’s approval to come to UK

Citizens who worked with British government or helped army told to get necessary documents stamped by the authorities

The Ministry of Defence has apologised after an investigation found Afghan applicants to a resettlement scheme were told they could only come to the UK if their documents were approved by the Taliban.

The Independent revealed that the mistake affected applicants to the Afghan relocations and assistance policy scheme (Arap), which aims to relocate Afghan citizens who worked with the UK government or helped its armed forces in Afghanistan. The MoD decides which applicants – who may apply with their families – are eligible for relocation to Britain.

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Afghan refugee in London told to give up doctorate and move to Yorkshire

University asks home secretary to intervene in move that would deprive him of scholarship and teaching roles

A Chevening academic will be forced to give up a doctorate, a scholarship and teaching roles under Home Office plans to uproot Afghan refugees from London and move them to hotel rooms in Yorkshire, a university has said.

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has been asked by a senior official at his university to intervene after Ahmad, a PhD student in engineering, and his young family were told to relocate 200 miles away to Wetherby near Leeds.

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Afghan refugees protest against plans to move them from London to Yorkshire

Some of the refugees worked alongside British army before Taliban took power in 2021

Afghan refugees have protested against the UK government’s plans to move them 200 miles from London to Yorkshire amid claims that they could challenge the decision in the courts.

Carrying homemade placards saying “Do not disturb our education”, more than 120 people – including teenagers and toddlers – gathered outside Downing Street on Friday.

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UK government urged to honour pledge to Afghan refugees’ families

Exclusive: Charities and activists call on PM to follow through on pledge to allow families to resettle in UK

More than 100 charities and activists are calling on the prime minister to facilitate the resettlement of family members of thousands of Afghans who came to the UK under a government scheme.

The government pledged to resettle family members in the UK but at the moment there is no mechanism for them to do this. Campaigners have accused the government of abandoning Afghans in danger who were promised the right to reunite with family members in the UK.

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British Council workers ‘hunted’ in Afghanistan allowed to come to UK

Contractors forced to move between safe houses given green light to leave but others remain in the country

Nearly 100 British Council contractors forced to live in hiding since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have been given the green light to come to the UK.

After 18 months of moving between safe houses while they were “hunted” by soldiers of the new regime, about half the contractors who worked for the council had their final security checks signed off.

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Ministers accused of unlawfully denying Afghan journalists UK visas

Ben Wallace and Suella Braverman ‘turned their back’ on former BBC journalists who are in danger, high court told

Ministers have unlawfully “turned their back” on former BBC journalists whose lives are at risk from the Taliban by refusing to relocate them from Afghanistan to the UK, the high court has heard.

Eight Afghan journalists, who worked in high-profile roles for the BBC and other media agencies in the country from which British troops withdrew last year, are challenging the decision to deny them UK visas.

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Revealed: UK has failed to resettle Afghans facing torture and death despite promise

Those who risked their lives helping British government face a ‘toxic combination of incompetence and indifference’

Afghan nationals who were promised resettlement to the UK nearly a year ago are facing torture and death while they wait for a response from the British government, the Observer can reveal.

Not one person has been accepted and evacuated from Afghanistan under the Home Office’s Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS), launched in January, prompting claims that ministers are showing a “toxic combination of incompetence and indifference”. The scheme was intended to help Afghans who worked for, or were affiliated with, the British government – including its embassy staff and British Council teachers – and all of whom face severe harm at the hands of the Taliban.

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Seasonal fruit pickers left thousands in debt after being sent home early from UK farms

Nepali workers who quit jobs and borrowed cash to come to UK are out of work just weeks after arriving

Nepali workers hired to pick fruit on British farms say they have been left thousands of pounds in debt after being sent home only weeks after they arrived.

The fruit pickers were recruited under the government’s seasonal worker scheme and say they were offered work for six months. But less than two months after arriving, they were told they were no longer needed and instructed to book flights home.

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Tamil refugees on Chagos Islands fear deportation under Rwanda-type plan

UK government lawyers tell asylum seekers they can return to Sri Lanka or be removed to undisclosed country

Tamil refugees seeking asylum from the British-claimed Chagos Islands face being forcibly removed to a third country under Rwanda-style plans drawn up by the UK government.

Government lawyers have told the asylum seekers that if they cannot be returned to Sri Lanka they will instead be removed to another undisclosed country.

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Refugee wrongly labelled child murderer says decades of his life wasted

Mayooran Thangaratnam fled Sri Lanka for the UK in 2003 after brutal murder of his father but was repeatedly refused asylum

A refugee who was wrongly recorded as being a child murderer by the Home Office says delays in his case have led to him wasting almost two decades of his life.

Mayooran Thangaratnam, a 41-year-old Tamil from Sri Lanka, fled to the UK in 2003 at the age of 23 and claimed asylum. He provided evidence to the Home Office from media reports that his father, a journalist who passed information to the UN about the Sri Lankan government’s persecution of Tamils, was murdered by Sri Lankan forces and that his life was also in danger.

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UK treatment of Afghan refugees ‘continues to be source of shame’

MoD sources accuse other parts of Whitehall of failing to do enough to help Afghans who worked with British forces

Two RAF flights carrying as many as 500 Afghans who worked with British forces and their relatives are landing in the UK each month from Pakistan but there is deep frustration within the Ministry of Defence about how the rest of government is struggling to accommodate arrivals.

It comes as the Taliban and western allies mark the first anniversary of Nato’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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‘A hotel is not home’: Afghan families still wait for a place of their own in UK

Families who fled Taliban rule say they are grateful for the help they have received but long for a home where they can settle

The west London hotel where Fawzia Amini, a senior Afghan judge, her husband and their four daughters have lived for the last nine months has comfortable sofas in the foyer, a restaurant serving tasty meals on the first floor, and friendly reception staff – but it isn’t home.

After the turmoil and danger of fleeing their spacious home in Kabul when the Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital, the family say that while they are grateful for everything the UK government has done for them, they long to be in a place of their own where they can cook their own food, work, study, and entertain relatives and friends.

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After 75 years, the hidden memories of India’s partition are rising up through Britain’s generations | Kavita Puri

Those whose lived through the formation of India and Pakistan are telling their stories – and their grandchildren are asking questions

Two sisters handed me a piece of paper that was faded and yellow. On it were typewritten words from their father. He had died in the 1990s and his final request had been for his ashes to be divided up and scattered in three different places: the Punjabi village in modern-day Pakistan where he’d been born, the River Ganges at Haridwar in India, and by the Severn Bridge in England. These three places made up his life, from displacement to India from Pakistan during partition, and then his migration to Britain. He felt he belonged in each one of them, wanting some part of him to remain, in death as in life.

Five years ago, I started collecting testimonies of the people in Britain who lived through the tumultuous events of partition. I quickly realised it was not a story from far away, but one that was all around us in Britain, with a continuing legacy.

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Foreign Office admits multiple errors in UK’s exit from Afghanistan

Officials say they can not provide hope of resettlement for Afghans who worked for UK civilian schemes

The UK Foreign Office has admitted a catalogue of errors over its handling of Britain’s exit from Afghanistan, but has shut the door on many Afghans who helped the UK prior to the Taliban takeover last August, saying it will not provide false hope that they will be given the chance to come to the UK.

Foreign Office officials say it is difficult to judge whether Afghans who worked on UK-funded civilian schemes, such as the British Council, are truly in danger from the Taliban, saying the evidence is that the threat primarily applies to those who provided security support to the UK.

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Fears for British Council staff trapped in Afghanistan despite breakthrough

Exclusive: Contractors at ‘high risk’ of Taliban reprisals still have no idea how to get out of country safely

More than 180 British Council contractors left trapped in Afghanistan have been given immediate permission by the UK government to apply online to come to Britain, but no hint of how to get out of the country safely.

The partial breakthrough came after a campaign led by MPs and former colleagues of the staff that had been horrified that they had been left behind, and exposed to retribution by the Taliban for teaching values of diversity and openness.

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