DEFENCE – AFGHAN INTERPRETERS – 14 May 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: Even before British troops have left, our brave Afghan interpreters have been threatened with assassination. How many of them must be killed before we do what we ought to do and offer those who wish to come to this country the opportunity to do so, as the previous Government rightly did for Iraqi interpreters?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): The situation in Afghanistan is not the same as that in Iraq. Lessons were learned from the Afghan campaign, and the way that interpreters and other civilian employees have been recruited in Afghanistan has been modified accordingly to take those lessons on board. I assure my hon. Friend, however, that we will not turn our back on those who have served us in Afghanistan as locally employed civilians. We believe that Afghanistan has a future that will require skilled, capable people who are committed to building it post-2014. We want to explore all options for encouraging people, wherever they can, to be part of that future and help to build their country in which we have invested so heavily. We have and will continue to have mechanisms that deal with cases of intimidation or threat, including those that could, in extremis, allow for resettlement in this country.]