Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia revealed Sunday that it had resettled in recent months more than 500 Afghans who had jeopardized their own safety by helping the Australian military in their war-ravaged homeland.
The Afghans, mainly interpreters and their families, were granted refugee visas. Most were resettled in Australia since late last year, the government said in a statement.
In this Feb. 17, 2007 file, Australian soldiers, part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), stand near local Afghans at a ceremony to open a Trade Training School, funded by Australian forces at the Tarin Kowt military base in Uruzgan province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)
The government had been reluctant to comment on the refugee program until Sunday because of risks to those who applied for resettlement before a September 2013 deadline, the statement said.
"This policy reflects Australia's fulfillment of its moral obligation to those who provided invaluable support to Australia's efforts in Afghanistan," Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said.
Australia has ended combat operations in Afghanistan and withdrew about 1,000 troops in 2013, but still has about 400 troops there in advisory and training roles.