Afghan interpreters say family members still stuck in region

Afghan interpreters say family members still stuck in region

Former Afghan interpreters who worked with the Australian military say their family members are still stuck in the region and are at risk, almost a year after the Taliban seized control of the country.

More than 200,000 Afghans have been seeking humanitarian protection in Australia since August last year, with almost half of them still waiting for their applications to be considered.

The long delay has led one Afghan interpreter who spent two years working with Australian Defence Force ADF troops based in Tarin Kot to express regret at working with the ADF.

The former interpreter, who the ABC has not named to protect his family, said we regret why we have even worked for the Australian government because the impact of that is inflicted on our family.

They have been asked '' why have your family members worked with the Australian Army and the previous government and they've been questioned about where they are looking for us.

More than 6,000 Afghans have been granted humanitarian visas since the Taliban retook control, with priority given to locally engaged staff, women and ethnic minorities.

Many of the group are still in Afghanistan or neighbouring countries on temporary visas.

Fears for life of former embassy guards.

Glenn Kolomeitz, a former Australian Army officer and lawyer helping Afghans with visa applications, says some have already been harmed.

In the last 48 hours, we had one of our former embassy guards kidnapped and we expect that he will be killed, Kolomeitz told the ABC.

Kolomeitz said the Taliban was still targeting people who helped foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Mr Kolomeitz said the wife of one of our people died recently after moving from safe house to safe house and being hunted.

Kolomeitz said the family of one interpreter who died while serving with Australian troops is still languishing in a Texas refugee camp 12 months after being evacuated.

One of their brothers was an interpreter for the Australian army who was killed by a rogue Afghan Army soldier, along with three Australian soldiers, Mr Kolomeitz said.

If anyone is owed protection by Australia, it is this interpreter's family.

Mr Giles told SBS News that a taskforce was set up to focus on the resettlement of Afghan nationals.

He said that the problem is an enormous priority for the government because we are applying enormous amounts of resources to it.

The settlement council of Australia chief executive, Sandra Elhelw Wright, said visa delays were due to an enormous backlog of applications.

She told the ABC that this is what happens with conflict as demand for resettlement balloons and there are not enough places available for everyone who needs safety.

Ms Elhelw Wright said the 6,000 people who have been resettled in the last six months are already contributing to society.

They are talking about how optimistic they are about their lives in Australia, but the main challenge is the concern that they have about their family overseas.