Melton Borough Council has pledged to relocate two families who are in immediate danger after serving with the UK Government and British Troops in Afghanistan.
As forces withdraw from Afghanistan, thousands of locally employed staff and their families have been left vulnerable and at risk of being targeted by the Taliban. Many British soldiers were given support by Afghan locally employed staff, with many acting as interpreters or translators, and their lives are now at immediate risk.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Joe Orson, said “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the interpreters and other local employed staff who risked their lives working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan, and we have a moral obligation to ensure their safety.
Melton has a long history of ties to the Armed Forces and we look forward to welcoming these two households to the borough. It is right that we act quickly and are proactive in helping people through these difficult and unimaginable circumstances.”
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has accelerated calls for Local Authorities across the country to offer accommodation and support, as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates every day and particularly in recent days.
It hopes to relocate all families that are known to the military for providing vital services by the end of September. Local Authorities have been asked to support the Governments efforts to work at pace to relocate around 3000 people (600 families) across the country.
Cllr Malise Graham, Portfolio Holder for People and Communities said “Many locally employed staff in Afghanistan, who not only provided vital support but have risked their lives alongside British Forces in Afghanistan for over 20 years, are in very real danger. It is important that we are proactive in supporting this call to action. We are proud to be able to play our part in this very worthwhile scheme and hope that our residents will join us in welcoming two new families to the Borough in the coming weeks and months”
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns said: “In the wake of the terrible news from Afghanistan, it is vital that we provide refuge to as many Afghans who helped us in our attempt to make their country safer.
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns has praised the decision. Photo: Alicia Kearns
“I applaud Melton Borough Council’s decision to support at least two Afghan refugee families and thank Leader Joe Orson for his leadership on this. It’s the right thing to do.
“I have lobbied the Ministry of Defence to provide some of its housing stock in Rutland for Afghan refugee families so that all our communities can open our hearts to those who need our compassion are support.
“I’m proud we will do our duty by those who cannot defend themselves.”
Melton Borough Council will work in partnership with other Leicestershire Councils to arrange accommodation and resettlement support for two households.