The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) was the hope of locally employed staff (LES) who have played supporting roles since 2001 but it turns out there are certain criteria for eligibility.
London: An open letter from the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, about relocating Afghan interpreters and supporting staff, has riled former Army Chief General Lord Dannatt and Conservative MPs.
The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) was the hope of locally employed staff (LES) who have played supporting roles since 2001 but it turns out there are certain criteria for eligibility. As the Taliban aim to advance against the ANA, the LES are more at risk and more applications are presented at the Embassy in Kabul.
At the end of July forty-five senior members of the UK military, a former NSA, a former Defence Minister, and a crossbench peer felt compelled to write an open letter criticising the ARAP for not being generous enough in providing sanctuary. Social media has provided a platform for letters of rejection to be published; British media and news broadcasting organisations have united and written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, informing them of the Taliban’s campaign of targeted killings against reporters and requesting a special Afghan visa programme for LES and their families who have worked for the British media so they can find safety in the UK. The response this week from Patel and Wallace claimed there has been considerable misreporting and that the UK have relocated 2,800 families since 2014; but relocation is only offered to those who served in exposed enabling roles, however, those assessed of high risk of arm will get priority and there is no cap on entry.
Johnny Mercer MP, former Defence Minister and former Special Forces Officer who served three tours in Afghanistan, is leading the campaign to accelerate sanctuary for the interpreters and other LES. Mercer and Tobias Ellwood MP and Chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee believe there is still time to prevent a civil war in Afghanistan. Mercer wants Johnson to provide Air/Aviation support, and Ellwoodis advocating retaining a 5,000 strong coalition force.
As the Taliban massacres for control, it is getting more widely acknowledged that a mistake was made not leaving behind sufficient contractual and air support for the Afghan government and the ANDSF.
This is not the only problem facing the Johnson government, Johnson’s flippant comments in Scotland about Margaret Thatcher closing the coal mines thus giving the green revolution an early start had the desired effect of dividing public opinion.
The errors piling up over incomprehensible travel, education, and testing policy; PPE acquisition cronyism; the recent revelations regarding dual parliamentary and business roles; backbench gossip about how many ministers are incompetent; Russian donations to the Conservatives and the question mark over Tory donor influence; the revising of the Northern Ireland protocol; the Dominic Cummings allegations; pervasive Chinese influence and an obfuscated China policy which has led Lisa NandyLabour MP, to call for greater strategic independence and a coherent cross-government approach to China, are all waiting explanation or resolution.