Our Team

The Sulha Alliance consists of four founding members and volunteers, who are involved in advocacy on behalf of Afghan former interpreters. They are supported by a strong team of Afghan former interpreters, who act as regional representatives for the wider interpreter community in the UK and Afghanistan. To protect their safety and that of their family members still in Afghanistan, we do not display their names and pictures.

Ed Aitken

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Ed spent 8 years as an Army Officer and served on two tours of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His Afghan interpreter from his first tour was one of the lucky few who was allowed to relocate to the UK. Realising the lack of support the resettled interpreters were given, Ed teamed up with his old interpreter and set up the Sulha Network in 2016. This became a widely used support group and doubled as a lobbying platform to campaign for better treatment of the Afghan interpreters resettled in the UK. Ed has now combined his experience of working with the Afghan interpreter community in the UK with the broader goals of the Sulha Alliance.

Dr. Sara de Jong

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Sara is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. For her ongoing research into the claims to protection and rights by Afghan and Iraqi military interpreters and other Locally Employed Civilians, she has interviewed former interpreters and advocates, including veterans, lawyers and civil society actors in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands. She provided oral evidence to the HoC Defence Select Committee and spoke at the Roundtable “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World” at the United Nations HQ in NYC. She also organised meetings to bring national and international advocates, stakeholders and interpreters together.

Simon Diggins OBE

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Simon is a former career Army officer who served as Britain’s Defence Attaché in Kabul, 2008-10. Alerted to the issue of the treatment of our former Afghan interpreters when in Kabul - the U.K. was unwilling to move an interpreter, who was a triple amputee from Taliban action, to Selly Park Military Hospital for definitive treatment, ‘...in case he claimed asylum’ - Colonel Diggins has, since leaving the service in 2014, actively campaigned for a full, fair and just solution for our interpreters. He regularly briefs the media and politicians, and has given evidence in Court, and to the House of Commons Defence Committee, on safety and security in Kabul and Afghanistan and the treatment of our former interpreters.

Peter Gordon-Finlayson

Sulha Alliance Co-founderPeter has been advocating for former interpreters since 2017. He is an ex-Army Officer who deployed to Afghanistan's Helmand Province for a 6 month tour of duty in 2011, where he built strong working relationships with several interpreters. Peter spent 4 years in the army, reaching the rank of Captain, before moving into the corporate security sector. He became an advocate when he discovered that an interpreter who he had worked with was facing rejection of his asylum case and at risk of deportation. After leading a successful campaign, Peter became involved in the wider issue of the treatment of former interpreters with the Sulha Alliance.

Sarah Hutchinson

Sarah is an ex-Army Officer who, amongst many overseas and operational deployments, served in a mentoring role at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, Kabul in 2016. During this time she worked with a female interpreter whose reports of intimidation and threats were not acted upon by her employer and was deeply saddened when she failed to report for work without explanation.

After leaving the Army, and whilst studying for a post-graduate degree in International Relations, Sarah had the opportunity to support Sulha Alliance co-founder Sara de Jong as a research intern on her project supporting the claims to protection by former interpreters which led to her involvement with the Sulha Alliance.

Our representatives from the community of resettled Afghan interpreters in the UK

H. is one of the regional representatives for the Sulha Alliance. He worked for the British Army from 2009 until 2014 when Camp Bastion was handed over to the Afghan authorities. H. spent spent 3,5 years as a patrol interpreter with a British battle group where he met Ed and Peter (who later founded the Sulha Alliance). He spent the last two years as a cultural advisor at the main locally support Unit (LSU) office. Once H. moved to the UK, he had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the Officers he met in Afghanistan who helped to establish the Sulha Network as a source of support to help all ex-interpreters to settle in the UK. Currently H. is undertaking accounting courses to hopefully one day become a chartered accountant.