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Petition urges interpreter asylum
Campaigners are to deliver a petition calling for the Government to immediately grant asylum to interpreters who have worked with British forces in Afghanistan.
The petition, signed by more than 69,000 people, will be delivered to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on Friday afternoon by campaigners including former British servicemen, pressure group Avaaz said.
The petition was launched by a 27-year-old Afghan interpreter known only as Abdul after he and his family were threatened by the Taliban because of work he carried out for the British forces.
Aimed at Foreign Secretary William Hague, it states: "As concerned UK citizens, we call on you to immediately grant asylum to all Afghan nationals who have worked as translators for British forces in Afghanistan.
"Risks to their lives are growing daily as the UK starts to withdraw; we cannot abandon them and we must act now. Their fate is in your hands."
The move comes after Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said Afghan interpreters who worked with the British armed forces should, where possible, stay on in their country to help rebuild it after years of conflict.
Mr Cameron said that "in extremis" - where individuals were under direct threat of reprisals if they remained - they should be allowed to come to the UK, but he believed most should stay on to join the work of reconstruction and he had asked officials to draw up a "really generous" financial package for those who chose to remain.
But campaigners have called for him to reconsider, including Abdul, who said he was "devastated".
"Without asylum in the UK, the nightmare will continue for me, my family and many others - living in hiding and fearing for our lives," he said.
"I risked everything to do this job and I never thought the British Government would abandon us like this. I beg them to reconsider."