We wrote in May 2020 that BAFF sometimes gets requests for help from former staff who had been locally employed by British armed forces or other UK agencies, mostly in Afghanistan. We may support campaigns by other organisations or groups but we can't get involved directly on behalf of individuals. We can help to publicise any useful web links and would be pleased to hear from any organised campaign on behalf of former local staff.
The article below was originally posted in August 2020 and updated the following month. Any BAFF member wishing to get in touch about these issues should please use the site contact form.
From time to time British Armed Forces Federation receives desperate requests for help from former interpreters or other Locally Employed Civilians (LECs) / Locally Employed Staff (LES) who consider themselves in danger because they worked for British forces in Afghanistan. Some now wish to settle in the UK.
We always have to reply that we aren't a UK government agency, we have no official status and our responsibility is to our members, who are serving UK forces personnel or veterans. In their own interests, we have been respectfully explaining to former local staff that we can't get involved in individual cases.
It's true that one of our founding members had a leading role in the largely successful campaign on behalf of Iraqi former local staff. We supported that campaign in various ways, including writing to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and to MPs, and providing information on the scheme operated by our Danish allies. Several broadcast interviews were given by BAFF members who had served in Iraq.
Another of our founding members, while serving in Iraq, conducted an informal straw poll showing support for local staff among his deployed colleagues.
And we understand that our founding Chairman was the originator of a local staff evacuation plan in Kosovo.
So although we can't get involved in individual cases, we continue to keep in touch with this issue. We remain prepared to support campaigns by others, if asked. But this is not our campaign.
A list of related links accompanies this article. The UK Gov link includes information about the Intimidation Policy and the contact telephone number in Kabul for LES who are concerned for their safety in Afghanistan due to intimidation.
UPDATE 19.9.2020 BAFF welcomes today's announcement by the MoD and Home Office that "Dozens more Afghan interpreters who supported British Armed Forces on the frontline in Helmand Province will be able to move to the UK as part of an expanded relocation scheme". See discussion at the BAFF Facebook page.