Interpreter appeals to UK Government to help families left in Afghanistan

·4-min read
Eligible Afghan civilians walking onto an RAF aircraft at Kabul (MOD Crown copyright/PA) (PA Media)
Eligible Afghan civilians walking onto an RAF aircraft at Kabul (MOD Crown copyright/PA) (PA Media)

An Afghan interpreter has pleaded with the UK Government to help the families “who offered their sons when your sons needed help” in the fight against terror.

The 35-year-old man and his brother started helping British forces when he was just 17 before emigrating to the UK in 2011.

Although he is now a British citizen, his brother and parents remain trapped in Kabul as the Taliban move to complete their lightning quick takeover of the country.

The interpreter, who gave his name only as Mr Hottak to protect his family’s identity, is now planning a protest outside Parliament on Wednesday to demand the UK offer asylum to all interpreters and their families.

He told the PA news agency: “That nation (Afghanistan) had lost all hope when it was under the Taliban regime, they were only alive, they weren’t living.

My parents are among the victims who gave two of their sons to the British forces to do work alongside them in the war against terror and today they are left behind to face the cruelty and brutality of the Taliban

Mr Hottak

“But the international community came, they gave them hope, they gave them dreams, they started living with humanity, and then suddenly you pull out the rug from under their feet and leave them alone like that.

“To the audience here in the UK please, support these interpreters and their families, their parents, their siblings, those who have offered their sons when your sons needed help.

“We supported you in that war against terror, many of us carry mental and physical scars.

“Our parents and our families have supported us against all the odds and against all our relatives who were against aiding the Americans in that country.”

The interpreter said that only today the father of a fellow interpreter in Paktia province was shot dead in front of his family when he refused to reveal the whereabouts of his son.

His own parents are currently in hiding while his brother – having finally been granted asylum in Britain – is desperately trying to get a flight out of Kabul.

“My parents are among the victims who gave two of their sons to the British forces to do work alongside them in the war against terror and today they are left behind to face the cruelty and brutality of the Taliban,” Mr Hottak said.

Afghan citizens pack inside a US Air Force plane as they were transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport on Sunday (Capt. Chris Herbert/AP/PA) (AP)
Afghan citizens pack inside a US Air Force plane as they were transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport on Sunday (Capt. Chris Herbert/AP/PA) (AP)

When asked if he had faith in the Taliban’s promises that human rights would be respected, he replied: “Do you think that’s fair that you are giving people the choice of either leave the country or we will butcher you? Do you think that’s a fair deal to strike with the Taliban?”

Mr Hottak continued: “The Americans betrayed us – toppling our entire system and blaming the Afghan nation for it, saying that we should fight.

“How would you fight a zombie group that all they know is to kill?”

Appealing to the British people, Mr Hottak said: “I don’t want you to be in my shoes but for a second just think how would you feel knowing that your parents, your siblings, could be killed for the crimes that you have committed?”

He added: “Your crime is serving your country, fighting against terrorism, but today the international community are running away and leaving your parents behind.

“There is nothing that I as an individual can do, but as a UK citizen I have the right to ask ‘do not leave me to suffer like this, bring my loved ones here with me’.”

Mr Hottak is being supported in his campaign by Afghanistan veteran Major Andrew Fox who served three tours in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2010 with the Royal Welsh and later the Parachute regiment.

Major Fox, 42, said any promises from the Taliban not to take revenge against those that had helped the British and Americans as “pure lies”.

“They are monsters and they are simply trying to get the west on side with their takeover,” he said.

“What they are saying doesn’t match anything at all that I am hearing about on the ground and people messaging me from Afghanistan,” Major Fox said.

“They are going door-to-door, they are threatening people, they are calling them up and saying they are going to hunt them down, they are passing messages saying, ‘we are coming back once the Americans have left’.”

He added: “I’ve seen images of soldiers executed on their doorsteps and units that have tried to surrender being executed to a man.

“So their words and their actions in no way line up. I don’t believe a word they are saying, they are monsters and they are simply trying to get us onside.”

Major Fox said it was imperative to keep the issue of evacuating interpreters and their families uppermost in MPs’ minds as they reconvene to debate the Afghan crisis on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think the Government are going to do their best, it is a really fiendishly complicated situation in Afghanistan,” he said.

He added: “It is something that needs resolving and we can’t just walk away from a moral obligation – we have to do everything we can to get as many people out as possible.”

The protest is due to take place at Parliament Square at 10am.

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