- Nazir Ayeen, 29, fled Kabul in 2013 following death threats from the Taliban
- Granted a five-year visa but it expired on December 5 leaving him in limbo
- Mr Ayeen said Afghan interpreters in UK treated the same as other refugees
PUBLISHED: 23:40 GMT, 16 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:19 GMT, 17 December 2018
An Afghan interpreter who earned asylum in Britain after risking his life to translate for Prince Charles and ministers faces being sent back after the Government failed to renew his visa.
Nazir Ayeen, 29, fled Kabul in 2013 following death threats from the Taliban, which accused him of being a spy after he spent three years with the British Army on the front line in Helmand province.
He was granted a five-year working visa but it expired on December 5, leaving him in a legal limbo and at risk of deportation back to Afghanistan, where his life would again be in danger.
Nazir Ayeen, 29, who earned asylum in Britain after risking his life to translate for Prince Charles and ministers faces being sent back after the Government failed to renew his visa
Mr Ayeen, who has no family, applied for indefinite leave to remain but the slow process means the Government is yet to decide whether he can stay. The loyal interpreter is now living illegally in his north London home.
The Daily Mail’s three-year Betrayal Of The Brave campaign – which was last week named Campaign of the Year at the British Journalism Awards – has highlighted how interpreters left behind in Afghanistan faced death threats, were shot at and even executed on their doorsteps.
Mr Ayeen told Welsh current affairs programme Y Byd ar Bedwar that despite the risks taken by Afghan interpreters, those who made it to the UK were treated the same as other refugees and asylum seekers.
He said: ‘The problem is we are not seen as people who helped the British Armed Forces, the British Government, in a hostile, dangerous land.
‘My hope is that the UK Government actually comes down to the fact that interpreters from Afghanistan are not a category of ordinary people. We are the ones who risked our lives to keep the streets of London safe.’
Mr Ayeen, who served from 2007 to 2010 with the Royal Marines and Scots Guards, was one of hundreds of interpreters who worked alongside British troops during the 13-year war.
The Afghan translators were injured in Helmand Province (shown in a stock picture) alongside UK troops
He also translated during high-profile VIP visits, which included Prince Charles, then foreign secretary William Hague and then defence secretary Liam Fox.
Speaking about his time on the front line, he said: ‘I’ve seen people wounded, I’ve seen people shot, I’ve seen people being blown up by IEDs.’
Explaining why he helped the British Army, he added: ‘I had a great love to my country.
To rebuild and restabilise my country was a big ambition to me. And to help a peace process and help the international forces gain their objective, to make Afghanistan more stable, that gave me the energy to keep working.’
He later worked as a translator for Lieutenant General Tim Radford, the commander of British troops in Afghanistan, and then as a political officer at the British Embassy in Kabul until he fled to the UK in 2013 after being threatened by neighbours in Kabul who accused him of being a spy.
Lives on the line: Afghan interpreters pictured in Helmand
Earlier this year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson gave hope to translators by announcing he was tearing up the ‘failed’ asylum policy which had left many abandoned, however, despite this, hundreds of interpreters are still denied sanctuary in Britain.
Mr Ayeen condemned the policy, and added: ‘I would say the American Government has looked after their interpreters really well, unlike the British Government.’
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘Mr Ayeen has submitted an application for indefinite leave to remain, which is currently being considered.’
Y Byd ar Bedwar will be broadcast on S4C tomorrow at 9.30pm.