In Tallinn for the Lennart Meri Conference, Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai lauded Estonia's pledged involvement in a recently announced UK support program for Afghans who have worked as interpreters for coalition forces. In an earlier interview, however, she said she was surprised by Estonia's decision, in a widely reported case, to decline asylum to an Afghan who interpreted for Estonian troops.
Barakzai said the UK program - plans for which were revealed last week alongside an offer of resettlement for 600 Afghan interpreters - will save lives, ETV reported.
It will be difficult for those who risked their lives in cooperating with foreign forces to return to normal everyday life after Western troops withdraw from the country in 2014, Barakzai said.
Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Friday that Estonia will participate in the UK-initiated program.
"Consultations with our British allies continue, but it is clear today that the UK's planned support program includes all Afghan interpreters who were on the UK's payroll and have worked together with our soldiers in Helmand province," Reinsalu said on Friday. (Editor's note: It has been reported that Estonia's interpreters were officially hired by the British, whose base the Estonian contingent used.)
"UK government agencies are currently analyzing the details of the support program's substance and measures, after which we will discuss with the British the specifics of Estonia's contribution to the program," Reinsalu said.