US considering granting asylum to Afghan war hero threatened with deportation by UK
The US is formally reviewing whether to grant asylum to an Afghan pilot whom the UK is threatening to deport to Rwanda, The Independent reported.
The former air force lieutenant, whose identity has been withheld because of security fears, flew dozens of combat missions targeting the Taliban and has been described as a “patriot” by former Western coalition allies.
He arrived in the UK on a small boat via the English Channel because, he said, there were no safe routes for him to use, The Independent reported.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace refused to intervene after the pilot’s application to the Afghan refugee scheme was rejected this week, sparking outcry from prominent politicians and military officials who said it was “shameful” for Britain to turn its back on the war hero.
While UK officials have made no moves to stop the Home Office from deporting the pilot, the US State Department is now reviewing his and his family’s asylum application.
Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army, told The Independent that the pilot being “cast off” by the British for the US to deal with was a “complete abrogation of our responsibilities and decency.”
Air Marshal Edward Stringer, commander of Royal Air Force air operations during the Afghan conflict, said the UK government was making a “weaseling distinction” over the pilot’s war record.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said for the UK to “turn its back on a pilot” and fail to “do what is necessary to keep to the covenant that we protect his life as he helped to protect ours is shameful.”