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17 August 2021

British man stranded in Kabul with pregnant wife fears they will not be able to escape from Afghanistan

17 August 2021

A British man stranded in Kabul with his pregnant wife has said he fears they will not escape Afghanistan

Mohammad, whose name has been changed to protect his safety, said he hopes UK authorities might be able to help his family by escorting them across the Afghan capital to the airport – which he says is surrounded by Taliban fighters.

“I don’t know if I can get there – there are more than 1,000 (Taliban members) next to the airport on the way,” the 24-year-old from London told the PA news agency.

“If I go and the Taliban see my British passport on me I don’t know what will happen to me.”

Mohammad returned to Afghanistan, the nation he fled as a 14-year-old refugee 10 years ago, to help his wife with her English exams after her application for British citizenship failed in September 2020.

“My baby and my wife need me and I need them… I have to be with her and she has to be with me – anywhere,” he said.

“I’m in depression, I don’t feel very safe… everyone is very scared, no one feels safe… there is gunfire all around… everyone wants out.

“The reason why I left the country was because of (the Taliban)… and I’m here again.

“I lost a member of my family because of them in the past… I’m an adult now, I’m a man now, it’s going to be me.”

While speaking to PA, Mohammad said he could hear gunfire outside his rented home, which he has only left in recent days to pick up food and water for his wife.

Mohammad, who works as a cab driver in London, said he has tried contacting the British embassy for help but has been unable to get a response.

He said he was told by a friend that he and his wife would be allowed to return to the UK if they could reach Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.

But he is concerned they will not make it there and said the crowds that flooded the airport earlier this week had “messed up everything” and caused it to shut down.

“The airport is just for American and UK troops… there are no commercial flights – I booked two tickets in the past and they have been cancelled,” said Mohammad.

Asked what message he would like to share with the world about the unfolding situation, he said: “Please, please, please, please, please, everyone in the world – not only the UK authorities – just pay more attention to Afghanistan.

“Because the situation is going to get worse and worse and worse,” he said, adding that he fears millions of people will die in the conflict.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said of the situation in Kabul: “We have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground, but our ambassador remains in Kabul and UK Government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff.

“We are doing all we can to enable remaining British nationals, who want to leave Afghanistan, to do so.”

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