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1. Guidance for staff facing intimidation threats
The UK government has a policy to provide support to current and former locally employed staff in Afghanistan who face intimidation as a result of their employment with the United Kingdom. This publication explains to staff the criteria for eligibility for support, the types of support available, and how to seek that support.
Since 2001, local staff in Afghanistan have worked with the UK government playing an important part in our joint efforts towards the shared goal of a more secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. We take the safety of our current and former local staff seriously and have taken care when employing Afghans to reduce the risk they may face as a result of this employment. We recognise that some may nonetheless face intimidation as a result of their work with us.
Through our intimidation policy, we support any staff member who is threatened and at genuine risk due to their employment with us.
During your employment, you will have been given security advice on how to minimise any resulting risks. Our intimidation policy is a responsive approach which seeks to manage the risk to your safety or that of your immediate family and provides levels of support sufficient to address the threat.
A claim can be made by any current or former local staff who have been employed directly by the UK government in Afghanistan since 2001, from the first day of their employment, regardless of their role, job or length of service.
2. Making a claim
Local staff who have intimidation concerns should contact the Labour Support Unit (LSU) in Kabul on 0792 907 303. They will pass your case to the Intimidation Investigation Unit (IIU) who should call you back within 24 hours. They will discuss your case with you and make an initial assessment of the threat you and/or your immediate family are facing. If our assessment is that the threat is immediate and life threatening, we will take steps to help you ensure your safety.
The IIU will then conduct a more detailed investigation so that the right support can be provided. This unit is set up specifically to address intimidation concerns and is staffed by professional investigators. It includes an interpreter in Dari and Pashtu. It has close links to the Danish authorities for those local staff who spent most of their employment with Danish Forces. For such staff, your case will be investigated by the Danish authorities.
When your case is referred to the IIU, they will interview you. This may be done in person in Kabul, or by telephone. You will be asked to provide evidence of the intimidation and its connection with your service with the UK government. This evidence could include:
- written/mobile phone evidence of a threat; it is helpful if you can give the IIU the actual mobile phone on which any threatening call or text was received, and any threatening letters you have received as these are important evidence and you should not delete or destroy them
- evidence of an injury and its cause
- supporting evidence from a police investigation or medical treatment
- contact details for any witnesses to the intimidation; the IIU may want to interview any witnesses
- any other evidence you may have
The IIU may pass the information you provide to the Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security for further investigation of the incident and any background to the claims. The IIU will only pass on this information with your agreement.
If you have any immediate concerns about your safety, you should in the first instance contact the Afghan National Police or National Directorate of Security.
The length of time that the IIU may take to investigate the claim depends upon the complexity and urgency of the claim that has been made, and the volume of supporting evidence, including the testimony of witnesses that they need to assess. Necessary and reasonable interim measures will be taken to help you to stay safe while the investigations are completed.
We expect the intimidation threat to recede over time, after leaving our employment. Former staff who ceased employment with the UK government more than five years before their intimidation claim is brought may bring a claim, but there will be a higher onus on the claimant to prove this is linked to their former employment by HMG (Her Majesty’s Government). However, all claims will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
3. Final decision of your claim
Once the IIU has completed its investigation, a final decision will be made by the in-country Theatre Intimidation Assessment Review Panel (TIARP), though more serious cases will be referred to the UK for decision. The TIARP will decide what level of support will be given to you. The LSU will then contact you to explain the outcome of the investigation and the level of support you will be given. A record will be kept of the investigation and of the final decision.
If at any point you experience further intimidation arising from your service with the UK government, you should report this to the LSU without delay. It does not matter if the investigation has been finished or a final decision made, you can make more than one claim or add information in support of your existing claim.
4. Levels of support available
We have a range of measures that can be given to you and your immediate family. The support provided is dependent upon the level of risk you are experiencing and what is assessed as reasonable to address it. It can include one or more of the following:
- advice to you on increased security measures (eg varying working hours, route to work, work location or changing phone number)
- supporting you in taking time off from your current job to reduce the threat
- funded relocation within Afghanistan
- relocation to the UK
Relocation to the UK is only provided in the most serious cases, where there is a significant and imminent threat to safety and all other measures have been exhausted and/or UK relocation is the only way to mitigate the threat to you.
Arrangements for relocation would be in line with the process set out in the relocation offer of the ex-gratia redundancy scheme. The levels of support set out above are available following the conclusion of the IIU investigation.
5. Communicating the TIARP’s decision
If you wish to receive an update on the progress of your claim you should call the LSU on the number above. The LSU will call you to inform you of the outcome of your claim. For security reasons, this will usually be done by telephone. If you ask for a written response we will provide you with one; however, you should be aware that holding such information may put you at risk of further intimidation.
6. How to raise a concern about a former locally employed staff member
If you are a former soldier or officer, a veteran, or other government official who has worked alongside local staff in Afghanistan, and you have concerns about a specific individual, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order for us to respond to your correspondence appropriately, please provide:
- your full name
- your service or staff number
- the full name of the local staff member you are writing to us about
- details about their employment, such as the unit they served with, the date they were employed, or ideally their LSU or LEC staff number; this helps us to identify their employment record
Any information you can provide to help us identify the person will be useful.
You will receive a response to your enquiry within 14 days. Please note that under the Data Protection Act we are unable to provide any personal data or information on specific cases without the express permission of the individual concerned. If permission is given you will be asked to provide documentation to confirm your identity before we release any personal information to you. It will not always be possible to contact the individual.
If you wish to write more generally to the department about its policies, then please contact either your MP (you can find out who your MP is and how to contact them at www.theyworkforyou.co.uk or write to ParliBranch-Treat-Official@mod.uk.