Afghan intelligence analyst praised for ‘key role’ by RAF advisers facing Rwanda deportation

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An Afghan intelligence analyst who played a significant role in assisting the British military in Kabul is facing deportation to Rwanda after escaping to the UK on a small boat. The man, who provided information to help the coalition forces plan operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan, was compelled to embark on the dangerous journey because he could not afford to wait for assistance through official channels after the fall of Kabul. Although he had applied for sanctuary in Britain two years ago under the Ministry of Defence’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme, he has received no response.

The Arap scheme is open to individuals who worked with and for the UK government. One British advisor praised his work for having a “meaningful and positive effect on the UK’s national security interests in Afghanistan,” while another RAF colleague stated that his insights “undoubtedly furthered the UK’s military and national security objectives.” The man has now appealed to Rishi Sunak, urging him to grant him sanctuary in the UK. Speaking from a government hotel in the Midlands, he expressed his disappointment, saying, “The government promised to assist those who have supported British interests in Afghanistan, and they haven’t. They conducted the initial evacuation, but now we have no choice but to take the route through the Channel.”

His Arap application has received support from two of his RAF supervisors, who worked alongside him as advisors. His local Member of Parliament has also raised his case with Defense Minister James Heappey on three separate occasions. However, in May, the man received a notice from the Home Office stating that he was being considered for removal to Rwanda, a country where he has no connections.

The man had been employed within the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) in the presidential palace. This department, initially funded by the UK, served as a hub for intelligence sharing between the Afghan government, the Afghan president, and British and NATO forces. Working within the unit, the man provided critical information for planning missions against terrorist threats in Afghanistan.

He held a position in strategic communications operations for the Afghan government, among other responsibilities. A British advisor who closely collaborated with him commended his personal integrity and professionalism, describing him as a “talented and hardworking individual” who would likely be targeted by the Taliban. The analyst played a vital supporting role for the Afghan government, with the backing of NATO.

According to one of his Afghan colleagues at the ONSC, they not only supported the Afghan army but also shared information with British and NATO forces. The ONSC served as a focal point for coordinating cross-government efforts and planning operations related to psychological operations and counter-terrorism.

Sir Nicholas Kay, a former UK ambassador to Afghanistan, insisted that the UK should honor its past ties to Afghans who worked in the ONSC and should not deport them. He emphasized the deep and far-reaching links between the UK and the ONSC, which served the strategic interests of both parties. The UK provided substantial financial and human resources to the ONSC, and many of its staff developed close ties with their British counterparts.

The analyst explained that he came to the UK because he had family there, could speak fluent English, and believed he had a better chance of securing safety due to his previous work. He expressed his concerns for his wife’s safety if she remains in a third-party country, as he fears she could face deportation back to Afghanistan.

In response to the situation, a government spokesperson emphasized that individuals who fear persecution should seek asylum in the first safe country they reach and not put their lives at risk by attempting to reach the UK illegally. The UK government has introduced legislation to address illegal Channel crossings and intends to promptly remove individuals who arrive in the UK illegally to their country of origin or a safe third country. However, the spokesperson declined to comment on this particular case.

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