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New Zealand considering helping Afghan interpreters

The Government is looking at ways it can help Afghan interpreters working with the New Zealand Defence Force in the war-torn nation.

 
 

Afghanistan

THE Government is looking at ways it can help Afghan interpreters working with the New Zealand Defence Force in the war-torn nation.

Around 24 interpreters are working with New Zealand troops, and are worried about their safety when the Provincial Reconstruction Team leave Bamyan next year.

There are fears they could be targeted by the Taliban due to their work helping foreign troops.

Prime Minister John Key says the Government is seeking advice on what risks the translators would face if they remain in their homeland.

“They’ve worked for New Zealand with New Zealand’s best interests at heart, and it’s at least feasible that there is some risk to them if they remain in Afghanistan,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“Now we need to tease and test all of that out – I can at least understand the case they’re making.”

Mr Key said the Government was getting advice on whether they could settle in New Zealand.

David Shearer, Labour Party Leader, said New Zealand must stand by them.

The country should either bring them to New Zealand, or find new positions for them with other missions.

“One way or the other, we owe it to these people to make sure that they are safe. They have kept us safe; they can pick up things in the street which pre-warn our people from going into areas that could be dangerous. We owe them their lives, basically.”

New Zealand forces are due to leave Afghanistan in April 2013.

 
 

 
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