An Afghan translator for British troops who fled after the Taliban takeover is already living in Swindon, having been housed here as part of the government’s relocation scheme.

And he could be joined by more of his colleagues who have given help to UK armed forces after Swindon Borough Council has affirmed its commitment to take in and help people fleeing the war-torn country – especially those who worked with our soldiers.

A motion was put to Thursday's full council meeting by Vijay Manro, which said: “This council welcomes the work being done by the British ambassador to Afghanistan and Home Office officials who worked round the clock at Kabul airport, and who continue to help and support those still trying to flee the country by other means. 

“It agrees with the UK Government’s pledge to welcome 20,000 refugees, with 5,000 arriving this year, and is keen to work with the Government on the resettlement programme for those fleeing the Taliban.

“We will of course be happy to play our part in accepting any resettled persons that we are asked to support and who choose to come to our town.”

An amendment was put forward by Coun Peter Watts, who called on his experience as a soldier in Yemen in the 1960s. He said: “When I was abroad I relied on the people locally who supported us as a force as interpreters and teachers.”

Coun Watts added the words “particularly ex-forces interpreters” to the motion, which both Coun Manro and his seconder Dan Smith agreed.

Coun Manro also had personal reasons for wanting Swindon to welcome Afghan refugees.

His family had come to Britain after fleeing Uganda when dictator Idi Amin gave Asians living in the country 90 days to get out.

Coun Manro said: “The Afghani people are not safe under the Taliban. The lives of those people who helped us are in danger, and there is a huge risk of persecution. Women are not able to leave their houses and girls can’t go to school.”

He drew on the experiences of his family who arrived in Britain from Uganda with £50 but who went on to make successful lives in this county.

He said: “Ugandan Asians came to the nation of shopkeepers and transformed shops here. Many of us are now doctors and surgeons.

“I’m sure after they have settled down the Afghan refugees will make a positive contribution to the community and to the economy.”

Councillors from across the chamber spoke to express how important the issue is.

Labour group deputy leader Emma Bushell urged the council to formally join the City of Sanctuary programme and added: “We must not accept one group of refugees but not another. Afghans are fleeing the Taliban, but people are also feeling the murdering and torturing regime in Eritrea.”

Coun Nick Burns Howell asked for the words “and all others” to be added, after Coun Watts’ words about interpreters to the motion and this was accepted.

Coun Matthew Courtliff said of those who have helped British troops: “When this nation called on their help, they obliged. Now the obligation is on us to help them in their hour of need.”

Summing up the debate Coun Dan Smith said: “We must do more than just offer these refugees a home. We must integrate them into our community, help them work and their children to go to school and maybe some will go on to become cabinet members at Swindon Borough Council – a reference to Coun Vinay Manro, Vijay’s son, who has recently taken the post of lead member for organisational excellence.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour.