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Sara de Jong quoted in the national and international press

Posted on 1 June 2021

The Guardian and The New York Times

Sara De Jong

Dr Sara de Jong has been quoted in two articles in the press over the weekend.

The first was in The Guardian in the Australian Foreign Policy section: 

"The first group they will kill’: why Afghan allies are terrified about Australia’s exit"

Dr Sara de Jong a founding member of the Sulha Alliance, which campaigns for interpreters who worked with British forces, says the threat against locally engaged staff is not new “but the Taliban regards the peace accords as a confirmation they won the war”.

“The confidence of the Taliban – and their ability to take revenge – has increased. Some people have been on their radar for 10 years, and the Taliban believes now is the time to punish them for siding with the enemy.”

De Jong says it is “logistically possible” for coalition countries to extract personnel at risk and their families.

“Large-scale evacuations to places like Guam have happened before. Why not do a similar thing?

“Where there’s a will there’s a way. This is an international mission that seeks to coordinate among partner nations, why is there no coordination on this?”

The second article was in The New York Times in The US withdrawal from Afghanistan section. 

  "Britain Accelerates Relocation of Afghan Interpreters to U.K."

The government’s announcement that it was fast-tracking relocations was “old wine in new bottles,” said Dr. Sara de Jong, co-founder of The Sulha Alliance, a group campaigning for Afghan interpreters working for Britain’s military, adding that the new policy adopted in April had already promised to bring Afghan interpreters and other staff quickly to Britain.

Allowing people who had worked in exposed roles eligibility by default was an improvement on a previous policy, which she said rejected hundreds of now eligible applicants. As an example, she said one man the alliance had worked with for three years received notice he would be relocated on Sunday, despite being previously rejected.

But, Dr. de Jong said, the April policy excluded staff members who had been fired, a point of concern given that many staffer members had been let go for minor offenses, such as carrying personal electronic devices to update their families or not returning from leave for personal reasons. And the policy change came too late for Afghans who have already fled and now reside, sometimes without documentation, in other countries like India, Serbia and Turkey, she said. also picked up on the story and Sara was interviewed for a piece that was published on Monday 31st May: "Hundreds more Afghans who worked for British military to be fast-tracked into UK"