UK to Resettle Afghan Former NATO Staff

13 Sep 2021 02:36 PM

UK Armed Forces have deployed to Kosovo to support the processing and relocation of NATO Afghan employees.

Around 150 former NATO Afghan employees and their families will be relocated to the UK after being evacuated from Afghanistan. As NATO’s leading European Ally, this operation is part of the UK’s commitment to support the relocation of vulnerable Afghans via third countries.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

This rapid deployment demonstrates the UK’s ability and readiness to relocate vulnerable Afghans from around the world.

Our commitment to those who worked alongside the UK and our NATO Allies endures far beyond the end of Operation PITTING.

140 troops from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and additional personnel from across the Armed Forces have deployed on a 60-day operation to Kosovo. They are providing vital force protection and help to process around 2,000 former NATO contractors and their families. The Afghans are housed in temporary accommodation while they undergo vetting, onward processing and resettlement across NATO countries, including the UK.

The government of Kosovo has provided NATO with temporary accommodation for a significant number of former NATO contractors and their families. As part of a cross-government effort, UK forces are working with British Embassy staff to complete vetting and onward processing in Kosovo ahead of onward transfer to the UK.

The UK has rapidly re-tasked forces from other operations in the Balkans to support NATO efforts including NATO’s High Readiness Response Force. This demonstrates the agility of the UK Armed Forces and their capacity to deploy and support our partners at short notice.

In addition to relocating NATO contractors, the Government has been clear that the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) remains open. We continue to work with international partners on securing safe passage to the UK through third countries.

During Operation PITTING, UK Armed Forces evacuated over 15,000 people from Kabul under extremely challenging circumstances, including British nationals and thousands of vulnerable Afghans. NATO coalition forces evacuated a total of 120,000 people from Kabul last month.