Ex-interpreter fears being killed by Taliban over loyalty to British forces

·3-min read

A former interpreter who is stuck in Afghanistan has told of his fear of being killed by the Taliban, after he previously voiced his loyalty to the British armed forces.

The Afghan man, who the PA news agency is not naming, worked for the British armed forces in Helmand Province in 2010.

He left his role after six months when the Taliban began giving his family death threats.

He has been moving around Afghanistan for the past ten years to try to avoid the Taliban and secretly retrained in the medical industry to provide for his family.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Families have been fleeing Kabul since last week (SAC Samantha Holden RAF/PA)

After hearing about the UK Government’s Afghan relocations and assistance policy (ARAP) scheme, which was established in April to help former Afghan interpreters who worked for the British armed forces and are under serious threat to life move to the UK, he applied to move with his family to Britain.

Two weeks after lodging his application, the Taliban launched its takeover of Afghanistan.

The former interpreter has said he has been told that members of the Taliban have been going door to door to find him and he is incredibly worried for his and his family’s safety.

He told the PA news agency: “When I came home for annual leave in 2010 after working for the British army for six months, I got phone calls saying they [the Taliban] will kill me, they will kill my family.

“My mum then said a letter was left on my doorstep and it was from the Taliban.

“They told me they were going to kill me as they told me to quit my job as I shouldn’t be working with non-Muslim people, and I refused, saying ‘They [the British armed forces] are in Afghanistan, they need help’ and they saw my love for the British army.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Former Afghan interpreters have been campaigning and protesting in the UK to try to help those still overseas move to Britain (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“So I ran away. We’ve been changing places every week to try and hide. I’ve contacted the British Embassy and I’ve not heard anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He added: “My mother and my wife won’t let me go outside because they’re so worried about me. They said, ‘They could identify you if you leave, so you have to stay home’. Home is now like a jail for me.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Nobody’s life should be put at risk because they supported the UK Government in Afghanistan.

“Over the last few weeks alone more than 2,000 Afghan staff and family members have been relocated to start their new lives in the UK.

“We remain focused on relocating those who are most at risk, but there is no time limit on eligibility and the process to relocate will remain open indefinitely, including via third countries.”

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