Czechs Approve Help for Afghan Interpreters, Families

An Afghan soldier listens to an interpreter
An Afghan soldier listens to an interpreter as she explains how to take care of his prosthetic eye while at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech government on Friday approved a program of help for Afghans who worked with Czech troops during their deployment in NATO missions.

Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said the help meant for Afghan interpreters and their families includes their relocation, an offer of asylum and financial aid.

Metnar said the goal of the program is to ensure safe and decent live conditions for them after NATO troops pull out of Afghanistan.

The government’s move came days after the Czech veterans, current service members, human rights organizations and others urged the government to help resettle the Afghans because of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

NATO troops are ending a deployment launched against al-Qaida and Taliban forces in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

President Milos Zeman asked the government on Thursday to approve the program without any delay because of fears that Afghans who worked with the Czech military could be killed by the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry declined to provide further details about the program, which is classified in order to protect its recipients. Their number wasn't given.

The last Czech service members pulled out from Afghanistan in June.

Since 2002, a total of 11,500 Czech soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan. Fourteen Czechs were killed.

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