Danish parties strike deal to evacuate some Afghan employees

Danish parties strike deal to evacuate some Afghan employees
Danish forces in Afghanistan relied heavily on local translators. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark’s political parties have struck a deal to allow some of the Afghan staff who have worked for Danish forces in Afghanistan to be evacuated and given temporary residency in Denmark for two years.

The first 45 staff will be evacuated to Denmark as soon as possible, with further evacuations set to happen gradually over the coming months. Evacuated former staff will be able to bring their spouses and any children under the age of 18. 

“The security situation in Afghanistan is serious. The Taliban are gaining ground and development is accelerating more than many had feared,” reads the text of the agreement, which was released at just before 10pm on Wednesday night.

“We have a common responsibility to help the Afghans who are now threatened due to their connection and contribution to Denmark’s involvement in Afghanistan.”

Foreign minister Jeppe Kofod speaks to media during the inter-party meeting on Wednesday. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The agreement was reached between all of Denmark’s parliamentary parties apart from the populist, anti-immigration Danish People Party and New Right Party. 

The right to be evacuated to Denmark extends only to the current staff of the embassy in Kabul and to those who have worked for either the embassy or the Danish Armed Forces in the country over the past two years.

Those employed by Danish forces longer ago will still be able to apply to be evacuated under an existing law on translators, but this requires that the person seeking evacuation is personally under threat. 

Before being evacuated, current and former employees would need to pass a security screening involving interviews with immigration officials and “other relevant authorities” to make sure that they do not pose a danger to Denmark’s security.  

Any employees who have previously been found guilty of committing a crime will be barred from the scheme. 

Peter Skaarup, legal spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party, said that he suspected that those who are given refuge would end up staying in Denmark. 

“That’s what’s been the situation in the past,” he told state broadcaster DR. The thing is that the people in question end up staying in Denmark. Therefore, I do not believe it is only for two years. I think it will be for a long period, for their whole lives, that the people in question stay in Denmark.” 

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