Military chiefs and politicians hail widespread sense victory for Afghan warfare hero

The Afghan pilot who was going through deportation to Rwanda regardless of serving alongside British forces has been granted asylum within the UK.

The plight of the air power lieutenant, who fled the Taliban, sparked outrage from prime politicians and public figures who stated it was “shameful” that Britain ought to flip its again on the warfare hero.

The pilot got here to the UK on a small boat as a result of it was “impossible” to get to the UK through a authorized route and was beforehand rejected from the UK’s Afghan resettlement scheme.

But in a shock transfer, the Home Office has now accepted that he has a “well-founded fear of persecution and therefore cannot return to your country of origin”.

The pilot, who was compelled to go away his younger household in hiding in Afghanistan, stated he was “completely happy” that the Home Office had lastly answered his plea to remain within the UK.

Here is what the politicians and army icons say concerning the warfare hero’s victory:

Admiral Lord West

Admiral Lord West, the chief of UK naval workers from 2002 to 2006, stated: “I’m delighted we got there – it’s the right decision. It’s just unfortunate that it took so long to look at his case properly. The Home Office has now shown it’s possible – so if there are other Afghans in the same position who have a legitimate case, we must sort them out too. We need to get on with looking after the people who worked with us in Afghanistan. We have a debt of honour.”

Lord West of Spithead, former head of the Royal Navy

(PA Archive)

Sir Laurie Bristow

Sir Laurie Bristow, the the British ambassador to Afghanistan throughout the fall of Kabul in 2021, stated: “I’m glad for him – it’s very good news. The underlying principle is that we should be fulfilling our obligation to the people who worked for and with us, and whose lives are at risk as a result.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory chief, stated: “If he has been able to show he fought with us against the Taliban and is in danger, then he is welcome. There are people who came to us for help after the [evacuation] debacle, and we owe them.”

Urging the federal government to provide sanctuary to these already accepted below the Arap scheme, however who stay in limbo in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sir Iain added: “I hope we help as many people as possible who have reason to be here. It seems very difficult to get the process going any faster, but for the people over there it’s a nightmare.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith stated the Afghan pilot is ‘welcome’ within the UK

(PA Archive)

Sir Richard Dannatt

Sir Richard Dannatt, the previous head of the British Army, stated: “I’m delighted. It’s the right outcome and I’m very pleased. But there is some frustration too. Why did it take so long to do the right thing, when you’ve taken so much flak for doing the wrong thing? The case was right months ago – so why on earth didn’t they do it then?”

Lord Dannatt added: “If there are other cases like this of Afghans in the UK, the difficulty is that they can fall between the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence. Officials may be doing their best, but if it’s clear there are exceptional cases of Afghans who may have worked with us, then there has to be a way of speeding up the decision.”

Sir Richard Dannatt stated he’s ‘delighted’ by the victorious final result


Alistair Carmichael

The Liberal Democrats’ residence affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael stated The Independent’s marketing campaign had “highlighted the flaws” in authorities coverage.

“I’m glad that things have been made right in this case, but it’s hard to keep something similar from happening again without real change. That means fixing the loopholes in the Afghan resettlement schemes, scrapping the Illegal Migration Act and finally abandoning the Rwanda vanity scheme.”

John Healey

Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey stated the social gathering “strongly welcomes” the choice.

“Labour has long argued against the disgraceful deportation of this Afghan veteran – but this case is just another episode in the shameful saga of how the Conservatives have failed the brave Afghans who supported British troops before the fall of Afghanistan, and they have failed them since.

“Britain’s moral duty to assist these Afghans is felt most fiercely by the UK forces they served alongside. Ministers must act now to fix the multiple failings in their Afghan schemes.”

Labour’s shadow defence secretary stated the social gathering ‘strongly welcomes’ the choice

(PA Archive)

Steve Smith

Steve Smith MBE, CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais and former military colonel, stated everybody on the charity was “delighted with the news”. He added: “The pilot is an incredible person. We are proud of how he has conducted himself throughout this ordeal and honoured to have supported him.

“We are very grateful for The Independent’s campaign on behalf of Afghan veterans. This is a great outcome for the pilot, but it’s not the end. His young family remain in danger in Afghanistan and steps should be taken to reunite them in the UK as soon as possible.”

General Sir John McColl

General Sir John McColl, the military’s former deputy supreme allied commander for Europe, stated: “It’s good news – it’s disgraceful that it’s taken a campaign by The Independent to achieve what should have been a just outcome months ago.”

“The unfortunate thing is that there are many still marooned in Afghanistan and Pakistan, accepted as deserving support after fighting alongside us, waiting to get permission to come here. We’re still waiting for a coherent, focused plan. They are being treated as out of sight and out of mind.”

“When it comes to Afghans and asylum claims, the Home Office must examine their cases regardless of how they got here – it’s the least we can do.”

General Sir John McColl says the ‘just outcome’ ought to have been given months in the past


Ben McBean

Ben McBean, a former marine commando hailed a hero by Prince Harry, stated: “I’m glad the pilot is getting what he was promised.”

Mr McBean, who turned a double amputee after being critically injured on a 2008 tour in Afghanistan, added: “It’s what he and his family deserve; now onto the rest who served alongside us. This is a good start.”

‘This is a good start,’ stated Afghan vet Ben McBean

(Getty Images)

Lord Hutton

The former Labour defence secretary, John Hutton stated: “I think this is a great result. Justice has been done. It is however extraordinary that it takes a campaign like this to see Afghan veterans treated in the appropriate way. Well done to The Independent.”

Kevan Jones

Kevan Jones MP, the previous Labour defence minister, stated: “Threatening someone who had helped us with deportation clashed with a sense of fair play. But there have been other cases of Afghans threatened with deportation, because the system is an absolute mess. The rhetoric from ministers does not match up to reality.”

Clive Lewis

Clive Lewis, who served a three-month tour of Afghanistan in 2009, stated: “It is great news that this pilot has been granted asylum, but he represents a powerful example of a much wider problem.

“It is exceptional that someone who fought alongside the British in Afghanistan, who was forced because there are no safe routes to come here via small boats, to then be threatened with deportation to Rwanda.

“And if it can happen to someone like this, who it is patently obvious does not deserve it, then we need to look at all the people who have equally valid asylum claims but might not have the air of being a fighter pilot.”

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