UK military leaders demand that the deportation of an Afghan war hero to Rwanda be stopped
UK military leaders demand that the deportation of an Afghan war hero to Rwanda be stopped

London: According to a report in The Independent on Wednesday, senior military leaders, politicians, and diplomats in the UK have pleaded with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to stop an Afghan veteran from being sent to Rwanda.

The combat pilot was forced to flee to Britain after 30 combat missions against the Taliban. He took a small boat to get to the country because he was unable to find a safe and legal way. His coalition forces commander praised him as a "patriot to his nation."

The Home Office warned that he may not be granted asylum in the UK because he entered England through France, Switzerland, and Italy.

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According to The Independent, the Home Office warned the pilot that he "may also be removable to Rwanda" and that the Rwandan government could access his personal data.

Rory Stewart, a former secretary for international development, described the pilot's account as "profoundly shocking" because it goes against what the government had promised Afghan citizens.

The Independent quoted him as saying, "We are shirking our responsibilities towards Afghans who risked their lives to fight alongside us and who are now at risk of their lives."

The lives of Afghans who fought for the UK "are at risk as a result," according to Sir Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Afghanistan at the time of Kabul's fall.

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Many of our own service members owe their lives to Afghans who cooperated with them and fought in Afghanistan, he told The Independent.

The pilot's route to Britain shouldn't affect his asylum application, according to Sir Richard Barrons, a former chief of joint operations who served in Afghanistan, "considering the mess the government made with the evacuation process."

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the government is determined to crack down on "criminal gangs who feed the illegal asylum trade" by bringing people to the UK on small boats on Wednesday when questioned about the Afghan veteran's threatened deportation to Rwanda on the "Today" programme.

However, Col. Simon Diggins, a former defence attaché in Afghanistan, told The Independent: "We shouldn't accept the terminology that he got here "illegally"; that is not the appropriate language for people like him who have no other way to get here safely. The treatment of this man, who was a member of our allied forces, is abhorrent.

The risks to him are clear if this man was a member of the Afghan forces fighting alongside the coalition, according to Maj. Gen. Tim Cross, who served in Iraq, the Balkans, and Northern Ireland.

Cases like these are the human repercussions of the mistakes we made in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, and the entire withdrawal from Afghanistan was horribly handled.

We owe these people a great deal, the former defence minister Kevan Jones said to The Independent. This is not how you should handle them. It damages Britain's stellar reputation for standing up for its allies.

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"We always support the friends we have. We ought to keep doing that. In this instance and many others, the government is manifestly not acting in that way. Sunak has agreed to look into the veteran's situation. He requested that the Home Office look into his situation more thoroughly on Monday.

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