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Belgium ready to accept Afghans who worked with troops

Published on June 10, 2021

Belgium’s defence minister said Thursday the country could take in around 30 Afghans who had worked with its military during the NATO mission, as the alliance wraps up a two-decade deployment.

Minister Ludivine Dedonder said decisions would be taken on a “case-by-case” basis and one man considered to be at risk was already being moved to Belgium with his family.

“His arrival will of necessity be rapid since there is a danger to this person. It will happen around the same time as our troops, with his partner and his child,” Dedonder told broadcaster RTBF.

NATO allies have been under pressure to relocate thousands of local staff who served with them often as translators, fixers or guards, ahead of a September 11 deadline set by US President Joe Biden for troops to leave the country.

Over the past two decades, dozens of Afghan translators have been killed and tortured in targeted assaults by the Taliban.

Dedonder told lawmakers that Belgium wanted to “take responsibility” for those who worked with its troops.

She put the number at around 30 people, but said that some had also worked with other Western nations and might decide to ask for visas to different countries.

The Taliban on Monday said that Afghans who worked with foreign forces in the past have nothing to fear once international troops leave, as long as they “show remorse”.