Don’t leave us at mercy of Taliban, pleads ex-interpreter stuck in Afghanistan

British nationals and Afghan arrive on a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
14:15pm, Wed 08 Sep 2021
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A former interpreter for British forces in Afghanistan trying to flee the country with his family has pleaded with the Prime Minister to “not leave us at the mercy of the Taliban”.

The man, in his thirties, said he is in hiding with his wife and young children and was waiting for “traffickers” to help them escape across the border.

The man, who the PA news agency is not identifying for his safety, served with UK forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province for more than four years, where he witnessed soldiers and other interpreters being killed or injured.

“Every day we had a really bad situation, every day we had casualties, every day we had injuries. They killed many soldiers,” he said.

“In one bomb blast I lost one of my friends from UK forces.”

He added: “The Taliban were putting lots of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the way while we were going on patrols, they were attacking us. They were firing at us from local people’s houses.”

“One of the soldiers from the UK side lost two legs,” he said, adding: “I got lucky… I had some small injuries.”

British nationals and Afghan evacuees leave a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

He said he was living in a northern province of Afghanistan when the Taliban arrived earlier this year.

He said his home was “completely destroyed” and he “lost everything” amid a “huge firefight” and he eventually travelled to Kabul.

In the capital, he tried to go to the city’s airport but claimed he was stopped by the Taliban at the gate who “started beating me” and “destroyed” his documents.

He said he tried to send an email to the UK’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme but claimed they were “not responding”.

“Unfortunately the UK left us here for the Taliban, they are not helping us,” he told PA by phone.

He said he had been at Afghanistan’s border for about 10 days and had tried to cross three times so far with no success.

Please pay attention to us, please do not leave us at the mercy of the Taliban

He  said “traffickers” had been paid 200 US dollars (£145) for each adult for help getting out of the country.

Sending a message to Boris Johnson, he pleaded: “Please pay attention to us, please do not leave us at the mercy of the Taliban.”

“We supported your forces in bad situations,” he said, adding: “Please don’t leave us behind.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “During Operation Pitting we worked tirelessly to safely evacuate as many people out of Afghanistan as possible, airlifting more than 15,000 people from Kabul including thousands of Arap applicants and their dependants.

“We will continue to do all we can to support those who have supported us, and our commitment to those who are eligible for relocation is not time-limited and will endure.

“The Arap scheme remains open to applications and we will continue to support those who are eligible.”

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