Ex-Afghan translators offered homes in Monmouthshire

Troops in Afghanistan Around 600 translators have been employed alongside British forces

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Afghan translators who helped British forces and now risk persecution could soon find a new home in Wales.

Monmouthshire has joined other councils in England and Scotland in offering help for up to 600 people.

They are mostly interpreters and will be in private housing funded by the Home Office for the first few months.

Council leaders say they are offering a welcome to people who showed "loyalty and dedication" to Britain.

The option of five-year visas to relocate to the UK is being offered until the end of 2015.

The UK Government plan was announced last year to help those who had been giving "unique and exceptional" service.

It follows concern that translators - at least 20 have been killed since 2001 - would be vulnerable after the British troops withdraw.

About 600 will qualify and it is understood that so far 120 translators have expressed an interest in relocating to the UK.

'Valuable asset'

Others have backgrounds in dentistry, medicine, engineering and IT and are seen as "highly skilled".

Those arriving will be under a special immigration scheme and are not asylum seekers.

It is not yet known how many will choose Monmouthshire but the Home Office said it was in discussions with a number of local authorities across the UK that had expressed an interest.

The council will be offering advice on integrating into the community, including finding work.

Council chairman, and the authority's Armed Forces champion, John Prosser said: "These people have put their lives at at risk, so we'll be giving them a welcome in our community."

He added: "We are pleased to play a part with other communities across the UK in welcoming them to our shores".

Council leader Peter Fox added: "Previous experience has shown that people settling here in similar circumstances have demonstrated their skills and commitment and develop into a valuable asset benefiting the whole community".

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