WELLINGTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is considering how it can help Afghan interpreters who have been working with New Zealand troops as the country prepares to pull out of Afghanistan, Radio New Zealand reported Monday.
Radio New Zealand's correspondent in Afghanistan reported that about two dozen translators were worried about their safety when the New Zealand soldiers with the Provincial Reconstruction Team withdraw from Bamyan province next year.
They feared they could be in danger of execution if captured by the Taliban because of their work supporting foreign troops, said the report.
Prime Minister John Key said the government was seeking advice on what risks they would face if they remained in Afghanistan.
"They've worked for New Zealand with New Zealand's best interests at heart, and it's at least feasible that there is some risk to them if they remain in Afghanistan. Now we need to tease and test all of that out -- I can at least understand the case they're making," the report quoted Key as saying.
Key said the government was getting advice on the option of assistance with settlement in New Zealand.
Key's comments followed a call from the main opposition Labour Party to offer the interpreters a chance to resettle in New Zealand.
Labour foreign affairs spokesperson Phil Goff said New Zealand had an ethical and moral obligation to look after the interpreters and their families.
"They have been integral to our operation in Afghanistan. We can't use them and then abandon them," Goff said in the statement.
"It's worth noting that Canada is running a special program offering Afghani interpreters who have worked with their soldiers and diplomats a new home in Canada in recognition of their service, " he said.
"I call on our government to follow that example," said Goff.
New Zealand forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan in April next year.