June 28, 2022
Afghan left behind by UK: I'm fighting to stay alive

Afghan left behind by UK: I'm fighting to stay alive

Afghan left behind by UK: I’m fighting to stay alive

An Afghan who had authorisation to fly to the UK, but was unable to make his flight because of crowds at Kabul airport, has pleaded with the British government to help him before it’s too late.

The UK ended its evacuations at the weekend, but many families who were eligible for evacuation have been left behind.

He shared his story with the BBC. We are withholding his identity to protect his safety.

I’m currently in hell right now.

In the past two weeks I’ve moved to 15 safe houses with my family because the Taliban are trying to find me.

Nowadays when there’s a knock on the door, it’s the first thing that enters my mind.

My heart stops beating because I think “Is this the Taliban? Have they found me and my family?”

It’s not just me, it’s hundreds of people who’ve worked for the government, the media, NGOs, human rights defenders – everyone is currently hiding in different places waiting to see when their turn will come.

I am one of those they’re looking to detain and to kill.

The situation is really bad for us.

I had authorisation to travel to the UK. When I tried to get to Kabul airport there were four to five thousand people at each and every gate, and we couldn’t get ourselves in. I waited there for almost 36 hours.

I crossed 11 checkpoints under a burqa, but in the end the Taliban didn’t let us past.

There were 15 or 16 families there too who were stuck that day. Some were even British passport holders. Now they’re also moving from house to house, hoping they can find a way to leave the country.

I was close to the airport the night the explosion happened. I was near the gate.

My young children were so afraid, they are still panicking in their sleep.

I don’t know what my options are now. Many borders are closed. I’m trying to send emails asking for help. I’m trying to figure out how I can safely move my family to a secure place.

The UK government needs to uphold its promises and keep those who have worked for them a priority.

These are people who have given sacrifices for them.

Please help us find a way out.

If I can’t get out in the next few days, I am fearful I’ll die.

I’m not as worried about my own life, I’m worried about my family.

I have young children who have seen nothing of this world.

Why should they be punished for my sins? the Taliban sees my work as a sin, anyway. We don’t have much time, maybe three to four days maximum.

My message to the UK government is this: “We are fighting to stay alive. It’s not a matter of hours, not a matter of days – it’s a matter of seconds.”

More than 15,000 people have been evacuated by the UK since 14 August. The Ministry of Defence said this number included more than 2,200 children.

While the UK has now ended its evacuation flights from Kabul as US troops prepare to pull out, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to help those who’ve been left behind but are still eligible for asylum in the UK.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab took part in a virtual meeting on Sunday with members of the G7, Nato, and Turkey and Qatar.

Mr Raab urged his counterparts to work together to give eligible Afghan refugees safe passage. He also stressed the need to protect human rights “and the gains of the last 20 years”.