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Afghan English teachers still stranded

Months after Western forces moved out of Afghanistan, English teachers employed by the British Council are still awaiting the processing of their applications to leave under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme.

There are thought to be almost 100 of these former employees, many who are female, who were hired to teach British values – including acceptance of diversity and gender equality, which runs counter to the Taliban’s beliefs – and the language, living furtively in the country, trying to stay below the radar of the Taliban. One of them who spoke to The Guardian, said: “I have the Taliban all around where we live. We need to keep changing our identity and moving our house. We have no job or income or prospect of escaping.

“We were told not to publicise our case, but we have no option since no one listens to us or seems to care. What I did in teaching was very public on social media, so they will be looking for me. I do not understand why we were not put on the Arap scheme in the first place.”

Joseph Seaton, who was the British Council’s English manager in Kabul and its deputy director from 2016-2020, has been campaigning on their behalf, writing to Boris Johnson, and the case has been taken up by Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, which elicited a response from Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad. However, it was largely seen as a pro forma letter and nothing has yet progressed for those left behind.

“While they have been repeatedly told that the British Council, the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence are doing all that they can to move their cases forward, there has been no progress regarding their cases in the last three months,” says Seaton. “As former BC staff, they are all eligible for Arap, yet all still await approval and relocation.”

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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