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Brave translator who helped British troops take on ISIS begins a new life in the UK

21 Feb 2020 Daily Mail Online

Just weeks ago, Mohammad Nazir was hiding from Taliban and Islamic State fighters who had vowed to kill him for working with British troops.

Now, thanks to the Daily Mail's campaign to secure sanctuary for brave translators, Mr Nazir and his family are out of harm's way – in a semi-detached home in Oldham.

The father of five said: 'We are safe at last. In Afghanistan this could only be a dream but now it is real.'

His arrival represents yet another victory for the Mail's award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign, which has called on Britain to look after translators who risked their lives for our troops.

The family: Arif, Hasanat, Safia, Kashif, Nazir, Asif and Waqif. Mohammad Nazir Shahamath is the second translator to be successfully brought with his family to the UK from Afghanistan all because of the Daily Mail campaign Betrayal of the Brave

Mr Nazir, 34, worked with UK officials for nine years. As a result he lived in daily fear that the Taliban would hunt down and kill him, his wife Safia, 27, and his children. He is just the second translator to begin a new life in Britain under rules brought in by former defence secretary Gavin Williamson in 2018, following sustained pressure from the Mail. The newspaper highlighted the stories of dozens of interpreters and their relatives who were threatened, attacked and even executed.

Mr Nazir said: 'I would like to thank the Daily Mail as I would not be here without your hard work and caring. You have never given up on translators. I thank you with all my heart. Please never give up on those still in Afghanistan.'

He added: 'My two oldest boys are already going to school and picking up words of English. To know that our children can study without the fear of kidnap, bombs and bullets is a blessing – an escape from the constant threat not just of the Taliban but of Islamic State.

'The threat they both pose is becoming greater, not less, and they have spies everywhere.' Mr Nazir's duties during the war included visits to camps holding Taliban prisoners. 'These people hated the translators more than the soldiers,' he said. '[They] saw our faces, they will remember them for ever and, when the time is right, have their revenge because we will always be seen as traitors... I did not even tell my own mother that I worked with the British because it would put her at risk.'

It is understood that the cases of another 70 translators are being examined to see whether they can be given sanctuary in Britain.

Many left behind describe it as a scandal that just two interpreters and their families have arrived in the UK in the 20 months since Mr Williamson's change of policy. They warn – like Mr Nazir – that threats and attacks from a resurgent Taliban and Islamic State have only increased.


Previously, the resettlement scheme helped only those who worked for the British in December 2012.

Mr Nazir was made redundant just a month earlier – one of many who lost their jobs just before the cut-off.

Mr Williamson widened the settlement scheme's criteria, claiming that this should help some 50 interpreters and their families – but the Mail later revealed that just two were eligible. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has vowed to re-examine the policy again, but so far nothing has been done.

Mr Nazir had been one of the first translators stationed at Camp Bastion, the main base for UK forces in Helmand Province, in 2006. He operated from there until 2010, when he was transferred to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office team overseeing plans to rebuild the country.

'There is talk of a peace settlement with the Taliban, but that would increase the danger to those who worked for the British,' Mr Nazir said. 'They blame us for the deaths of their fighters.'

He added: 'The Government has shown me great humanity by allowing my family to come to the UK. I would ask that the service of others – and the dangers they face – are finally recognised.'


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