Evacuation efforts continue
Authorities work to rescue Afghans who aided Norway
The Ministry of Defense is working to identify former Afghan defense employees who could potentially be granted asylum in Norway, but many feel it is happening too late.
The ministry has submitted a list to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) with the names of about 400 people who have worked for Norway during the last 20 years, as reported by Klassekampen.
There have also been 466 applications for residence in Norway from Afghanistan officially registered.
“Some [applicants] have applied several times. Many applications are still being processed. The figures and lists must therefore undergo quality assurance measures, and we are working continuously with this, the ministry wrote in an email to the newspaper.
The UDI will process all applications according to a new application process, which is based on a previous model put in place for the Armed Forces’ interpreters in 2015.
Liv Signe Navarsete, the Center Party’s defense policy spokesperson, believes the process has taken too long and has pointed out that other countries are further ahead in the process.
“The United States and Canada were out early and said they would evacuate everyone who had worked for them. Denmark did a review of this and succeeded in evacuating their people in early August. We were slow,”said Navarsete.
Dangerous and chaotic situation
“This is an allegation that falls on its own unreasonableness,” said Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen of the Conservative Party (Høyre).
“Those who were employed as of now, we had out with family already in June. When the situation in Afghanistan became what it is, it was chaotic but also very dangerous for our people. We will now set up a plan in which we can help those who need help,” Bakke said to NRK.
“It is easy to sit deep inside the Sognefjord and have the answer to everything, but here [in Afghanistan], it was actually a risk for both our personnel and the Afghans who we had to take into account,” he said.
Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 17, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.