New Zealand will offer residency to 23 Afghan interpreters and their families who fear retribution from the Taliban when Kiwi troops leave Bamiyan province next year, officials said on Friday.
Defence Minister, Jonathan Coleman, said the interpreters had played a critical role during New Zealand’s decade-long deployment in Afghanistan and the country felt obliged to look after them.
“Offering assistance to current interpreters employed by the government reflects the view that New Zealand should demonstrate a duty of care to this group,” he said.
Mr Coleman said 23 interpreters and 50 dependents were eligible to move to the nation.
Those who chose not to take up the offer would be given three years of pay to help them relocate from central Bamiyan province to elsewhere in Afghanistan, he said.
The New Zealand military will leave Afghanistan in April next year, about six months earlier than originally planned, after a deployment which has resulted in 10 troop deaths.
Some of the interpreters told New Zealand media earlier this month that Taliban insurgents had threatened to kill them after the New Zealanders departed.
Source: ABC news