Estonia's Afghan Partners May Get Asylum in UK (4)
Yesterday, during a NATO summit in Brussels, it was announced that Afghan interpreters who have worked for Estonia's infantry units in Afghanistan will be offered asylum to the UK if they meet criteria.
The announcement was made at a press briefing held by defense ministers Philip Hammond of the UK, Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia and Nick Hækkerup of Denmark, reported Postimees.
The most important criteria are reportedly work outside of military bases for over a year and being on British payroll as of December 18 last year.
The latter could be a problem for the interpreter known as Omar because his contract ended a few months before.
Omar is one of dozens interpreters who has worked for the Estonian military, in his case for three years. His asylum request was turned down by Estonian migration authorities in May. The decision was made on the heels of a visit to Estonia by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who said interpreters in Omar's shoes have no more reason than other citizens to fear for their safety.
Estonia's defense and foreign ministers have said that the decision was not a political one. Critics, however, including the Estonian president, have stressed that Estonia has a moral responsibility to its partners in Afghanistan.