Families of Afghan interpreters 'scared and in hiding'

Source: 1News

Twenty Afghan interpreters worried about their families being hunted by the Taliban came to Parliament this morning urging the Prime Minister and her Government to hear their pleas.

The interpreters waited three hours, with some having travelled from Hamilton, however they were not met by any members of the Government. 

One interpreter, who wore medals he earned for his service to New Zealand, told 1News they wanted help from the Government to bring their families to New Zealand. 

Afghan interpreters who served with the NZDF stand outside Parliament to ask the Government to help their families in Afghanistan.

Holding a sign that read - "Please talk to us for 5 mins", the interpreter said their siblings who were still in Afghanistan were in danger. 

"We worked for the New Zealand Government, we worked for the army, and we were the ones who were hunting those bad guys back in the day. 

"But now they're hunting. They've got the Government, they've got the power," he said, referring to the Taliban. 

He said he was proud of his service to New Zealand, and had thought the situation in Afghanistan would improve and be safe. 

Afghan interpreters who served with the NZDF stand outside Parliament to ask the Government to help their families in Afghanistan.

Another interpreter said they were waiting for a representative from the Government to come out and meet them.

"The Taliban is chasing down those who served with international troops and their family members."

He said there were situations of terror and execution of other family members in Afghanistan.

"Our families are scared and are in hiding." 

1News was told Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi was unable to meet the group this morning due to prior commitments, but had been in written communication. 

"The Government has provided financial support to humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and continues to investigate options, in consultation with partner countries, to see what further assistance might be possible for Afghan nationals," a spokesperson from Faafoi's office said. 

ACT's David Seymour and National's Nicola Willis, Louise Upston and Harete Hipango came out to speak to the interpreters. 

New Zealand ceased accepting applications from Afghan nationals for resettlement late August, ending the evacuation mission after the Kabul terrorist attack. 

Pressure  continued to mount  on the Government to assist those who helped New Zealand forces during the 20-year American occupation of Afghanistan.

New Zealand troops in Afghanistan used local interpreters and labourers. In the rush to withdraw some were left behind, despite having visas.