June 19, 2024

Biden hits out at UK over asylum for Afghan hero pilot facing Rwandan deportation

The White House has said it will “make sure” Afghan soldiers who have supported the United States are taken care of while the UK government continues to stall in the case of an Afghan pilot who is under threat of deportation to Rwanda.

The pilot, who risked his life flying combat missions in support of UK and US forces during the conflict in Afghanistan, has been left in limbo by Britain and threatened with transfer to the east African country after being found on a small boat.

Much to the embarrassment of the UK – which rejected his first request to stay in this country – the airman’s case is now being considered by the US after his US supervisor personally praised him and described him as a “true patriot of his nation”.

Biden’s spokesman was asked today about the speed at which Afghans were being brought to the US, especially from third countries, given the The Independents campaign for Afghanistan veterans.

Karine Jean-Pierre replied: “Our commitment is still there. To make sure that we take care of the people who helped us during the longest war in this country that we have, we have seen that we have given support and the work continues.”

The intervention raises the heat on the United Kingdom, which has not yet dealt with the threat of deportation to Rwanda, despite the United Kingdom’s Court of Appeal ruling that the government’s agreement is illegal. Without removing the notice, the pilot’s asylum application cannot proceed and he is still being denied safe haven.

US Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said her government’s commitment to its Afghan allies “still stands”

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Thousands of military leaders, politicians, diplomats and celebrities took part in it The Independents call him that he will be given safe shelter after the sacrifice he made.

The Afghan Air Force airman, whose wife and child are still hiding in Afghanistan, served with coalition forces in the period leading up to the fall of Kabul two years ago. He described how he flew missions coordinated and supported by British and US commanders to take out terrorists and dismantle drug production networks.

When coalition troops left in August 2021, the pilot was among those dangerously exposed. The Taliban took over their offices and got every detail about him – his email address, his phone number and where he lived. He remained in hiding in Afghanistan for several months before making the heartbreaking decision to leave his family and find safe haven.

A dangerous journey across the English Channel last November culminated a long journey over land and sea. Thinking that he would be welcomed and thanked for his sacrifice, the pilot was deeply saddened to learn that he was in danger of being deported to Rwanda.

The Afghan pilot said he had been ‘abandoned’ by the United Kingdom

(Getty)

He told The Independent: “I am very disappointed. We weren’t doing simple tasks in Afghanistan – we were doing missions. Without our Afghan forces, the UK and US would not be able to carry out their activities.

“If the UK is abandoning us again, I hope the US will help. There are even a lot of ex-Afghan pilots flying in the US, they are using their skills, unlike what the UK is doing to me. Maybe if I come to the US, I can work as a pilot again and have a future – something that helps my family, who are still at risk in Afghanistan.”

The pilot is not allowed to work in the UK while his asylum claim is on hold and is paid around £8 a week to live on while he is being funded by the government in hotel accommodation.

He is being considered for possible asylum in the US under the P1 resettlement scheme, to which a US official must personally refer you.

His application for the Ministry of Defence’s Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Policy was rejected because the government said his pilot role was not one in which “the UK’s operations in Afghanistan would be significantly less effective or significantly less successful without such a role”.

Defense Minister James Heappey said members of the Afghan air force “in principle” would not qualify for the scheme because they were not linked to the British.

Sign the Independent’s petition asking the UK support the Afghanistan war heroes who served alongside Britain

He is among thousands of other asylum seekers who have arrived in Britain on small boats, and could be transferred to Rwanda by the UK Home Office.

The letter of intent, released by the government, said his asylum claim was “inadmissible” because he had traveled through several European countries before arriving in Britain.

The £140m move to deport asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda was ruled illegal at the end of June, but the Home Office refused to remove the pilot’s notice of intent – meaning his asylum claim cannot be processed.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has promised to appeal against the court’s illegal ruling in the Supreme Court.

The former head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, described the Rwandan plan as “unpopular policy”, and blamed home secretary Suella Braverman for “continuing to reduce the political capital of the Rishi Sunak government” by pursuing it.

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