Scotland: Taliban supporter who rents farm close to UK's nuclear submarine base asked to leave

·4-min read

A Taliban supporter who rents land near a UK nuclear submarine base has been told to leave the site by its Iranian owner.

It follows Sky News revelations that residents in the area had reported security concerns to police.

Waheed Totakhyl is an Afghan national who has previously called for the death of US soldiers in Afghanistan. His brother is a military commander for the Taliban in Kabul.

He has been renting Aldonaig Farm, which overlooks the Gare Loch, the stretch of water used by naval traffic to come and go from HMNB Clyde at Faslane.

The farm also looks on to accommodation used by naval personnel and is less than five miles from the base itself.

Watch: Police alerted to 'suspicious activity' on Taliban supporter's farm near nuclear navy submarine base

Now, the owner of the farm has written to him, instructing him to vacate the premises. The landowner is Al Taghi, an Iranian national who is a former lieutenant in Iran's navy.

Mr Taghi, currently based in Canada, told Sky News he was sacked along with other naval officers during the Iranian revolution in 1979.

In a letter dated 8 October, he has written to Mr Totakhyl and told him to leave Aldonaig Farm.

Residents living near Britain's nuclear deterrent contacted Ministry of Defence police following behaviour they regarded as suspicious. They reported that, on 10 August, two cars containing eight Afghan nationals appeared at Aldonaig Farm and the men said they had driven from London, without further explanation.

Councillor George Freeman, from Argyll & Bute Council, told Sky News of concerns among local people.

"We're sitting right next door to Faslane and Coulport just over the hill," he said. "The nation's nuclear deterrent is here, so it's a very sensitive area. The fact that we have individuals here who admit supporting the Taliban, then they are asking questions - 'is nobody in the security services, do they not have concerns?' So far, we just can't get an answer on that."

Mr Totakhyl, who is the last-registered chairman of the Scottish Afghan Society, insists he is not a danger and says he rents the land because he "likes to be a farmer".

When Sky News put the residents' concerns to him, he said that he had, indeed, hosted visits to the farm by Afghan nationals from around the UK.

He disputed that any such event took place on 10 August, but says he was visited on 12 June by fellow members of Afghanistan's Hezb-e Islami party.

The party is led by Gulbuddin Helmatyar, a notorious Afghan warlord dubbed the Butcher of Kabul, who has pledged his support for the recent Taliban takeover.

Waheed Totakhyl told Sky News: "My friends visit me from Birmingham, London. They came this year just to visit me and talk about the situation in Afghanistan."

Asked if he understood concern around the meeting taking place close to the Faslane base, he said: "Yes, but we didn't have a meeting about Britain or Scotland. We were talking about Afghanistan, what was going to happen in Afghanistan and how can we help the people of Afghanistan from the UK."

"I rent (the farm) because I like to be a farmer and enjoy the weather… of Scotland," he added.

Mr Totakhyl came to the UK from Afghanistan in 2001 and settled in the west of Scotland. He owns a takeaway shop which once sold "Osama bin Laden" pizzas.

A picture on his Facebook feed shows a photo, taken in Afghanistan, of him holding a rifle in the company of armed men.

He told Sky News it was taken during a visit to Bagram jail to visit his brother before he was released to take up his current position as a Taliban commander, and the armed men accompanying him were bodyguards from the Hezb-e Islami party.

In 2018, Mr Totakhyl was arrested for his part in a protest at a Home Office building in Glasgow, in support of two asylum seekers on hunger strike.

He has previously told Sky News that, since the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is "more safe than Europe".

In April this year, the local Rhu and Shandon Community Council wrote to Al Taghi as the registered owner of Aldonaig Farm, complaining of fires being lit on the land. It also stated that police had been called several times to complaints about "noise…illegal gatherings and environmental pollution and damage".

Watch: At least 46 killed in bomb attack at Kunduz mosque in Afghanistan

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