We must show compassion to our Afghan heroes and their families
By Jane Carr
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
Nazir risked his life working with the British Forces in Afghanistan as an interpreter from 2009 - 2012.
In 2021, he and his family were forced to leave behind their former lives in Kabul for fear of Taliban retaliation against him and his loved ones.
He can't show his face in interviews because it would endanger his relatives who were left behind.
"My relatives back in Afghanistan are not safe," he said.
"They feel no security. They are concerned about their future. They are being intimidated. They are being threatened. They are being warned, asked about us and where we are."
Having to uproot your whole life and move half the world away to escape danger is a terrifying thought.
But Liberal Democrats won't leave Nazir and his family to rebuild their lives alone.
We've welcomed over 200 refugees into our community with new relationships being nurtured through local activities and cricket games. Residents of Newport Pagnell and across Milton Keynes have donated toys, shoes and clothes in droves to support families like Nazir's. They deserve the chance to begin to take some control over their lives by choosing what they want from the items.
The community response to our campaign has been incredible - we've had so many donations that our pick-up points have been overwhelmed!
I am so proud of my town and borough's incredible efforts and compassion.
It's taken us four weeks to sort and distribute due to the sheer scale of the project. Little has been wasted, with unsuitable items being shared among many other charities that serve the wider community in Milton Keynes, including charities that support veterans and the homeless. We're now working on a model with partner charities to offer support in other emergency situations, such as flooding or fires.
Helping these families embed their lives into our communities has been an honour. But it's also a personal thank you. People like Nazir and his countrymen worked with and protected my brother and sister-in-law when they toured Afghanistan with the British Army.
Our compassionate communities all across Milton-Keynes are helping nearly 1000 refugees, with many more families expected to join us. We want to make sure all of them can see the UK as their new home.
"This is a new society for us. A new country. This is our country now. We believe we are going to settle here. We will have a bright future here for our children."
We will continue to do all we can for those who have had to make such steep sacrifices. Local councils have a key role to play in ensuring refugees get the help they need and we are proud to do so. But we need the government to commit to providing the funding to enable us to support them properly in the long term.
Far more needs to be done.
They have given up everything to help us.
Now, Liberal Democrats are fighting for the rights and protection they deserve.
I'm proud of the work we've done in Milton Keynes to welcome Nazir, his family, and the other survivors of this crisis.