Former Afghan Special Forces: Deportation Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence

Former Afghan Special Forces: Deportation

Lord Stirrup Excerpts
Tuesday 12th December 2023

(7 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Earl of Minto Portrait The Earl of Minto (Con)
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CF333 and ATF444, known as the Triples, were Afghan-led task forces set up to counter drug trafficking and organised crime, and they reported to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. They are therefore a component of the Afghan national security forces and are not automatically in scope for relocation.

Lord Stirrup Portrait Lord Stirrup (CB)
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My Lords, answers to questions on this issue tend to be full of bureaucratic detail and process. This hardly seems appropriate for people who are facing rapid expulsion from Pakistan and almost equally rapid assassination by the Taliban. Why will the Government not set up a mechanism to pursue this issue proactively and urgently, in order to sort it out? If the Minister needs any advice, perhaps he could turn to the noble Lord, Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton, who has a lot of experience in this area and could point him in the right direction.

Earl of Minto Portrait The Earl of Minto (Con)
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I do not disagree with quite a lot of what the noble and gallant Lord said. However, perhaps I may just take a moment to advise noble Lords of the scale of the challenge. There have been 142,000 applications under the ARAP scheme, 95,000 of which are unique—in other words, there are a certain number of repetitions. From April 2023 until the end of August 2023, the bureaucracy coped with 75,000 of those applications. To date, we have settled nearly 14,000 Afghans in this country, and we are hoping to settle another 2,800 by the end of December. There are 2,500 people with approval currently in Pakistan, with whom we have very good relations, and they all have the document which allows them to leave. In fact, 500 were approved last week. While I am not saying that we are on top of it, we are very close to getting there.