Vulnerable 73-year-old mother of Afghan who worked for UK stuck in Kabul at mercy of Taliban

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People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on August 18, 2021 following the Taliban stunning takeover of the country. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
People wait to be evacuated at the airport in Kabul. (Getty)

The 73-year-old mother of an Afghan man who worked for the UK has not been allowed to leave the country with her family, an MP has said. 

Conservative MP Andrew Bowie told the Commons the woman was currently stuck at an airport in Kabul with her son, who had chosen to stay by her side.

He said the man had been waiting to leave Afghanistan with his wife, four children and mother after the Taliban had taken control.

Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: “His wife, his kids and he were offered safe passage out of the country but was told his elderly and vulnerable mother would not be allowed to travel with them.”

Watch: Sir Keir slams PM over Afghanistan response

Bowie added: “Late on Monday night he had to make a choice to leave with his wife and children and leave his ageing and vulnerable mother behind to whatever fate might befall her, or to stay behind.

“He took the terribly difficult decision to stay. The last I heard was that he was still assisting British troops at the airport with the help of a charity that his brother works for, is reapplying for ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) status for his entire family.

“The man was only in the airport because he was assisting British nationals evacuate the country.”

During an emergency debate on Wednesday, the Prime Minister defended the final pull-out of British troops, saying it was an “illusion” to think the international military mission could have continued without US forces.

But he faced cries of disbelief when he denied the government had been unprepared for the lightning takeover by the Taliban which saw the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani collapse in just days.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there had been a “failure of preparation” by the Tories for which Johnson bore a “heavy responsibility”.

He said the PM was able to give a lead on the international stage but had failed to do so.

Former Conservative prime minister Theresa May added it was “a major setback for British foreign policy” nearly 20 years after UK forces first entered Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the US.

TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN - AUGUST 17: In this handout image provided by the Bundeswehr, officials and military personnel stand at the entrance to a military aircraft carrying evacuees from Kabul at Tashkent Airport on August 17, 2021 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. One of three German military planes evacuated some 131 people from Kabul airport to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent before reaching their final destination in Germany.  (Photo by Marc Tessensohn/Bundeswehr via Getty Images)
German forces evacuate citizens from Afghanistan. (Getty)

Labour MPs also raised concerns about the number of refugees being accepted from Afghanistan.

The UK has announced plans to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans – particularly women and girls – with 5,000 arriving in the first 12 months.

Johnson said the priority was to evacuate as many of the remaining UK nationals and Afghans who had worked with the British in the country as quickly as possible.

Labour MP Chris Bryant called for the programme to be accelerated, asking: "What are the (other) 15,000 meant to do? Hang around and wait until they've been executed?"

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