Afghanistan: Tugendhat says ‘this is what defeat looks like’
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The UK finished its evacuation programme in Afghanistan on August 30, flying out 15,000 from Kabul in two weeks. However, more than 7,000 people are still trapped in the country, with the Taliban urging them to stay in the country.
A 24-year-old man flew from Heathrow to Uzbekistan, then drove 19 hours into Afghanistan to rescue his wife.
The couple are now in hiding, as the man’s family are linked to the former Afghanistan military.
The couple married two years ago in Afghanistan and he was in the process of trying to arrange her paperwork so she could settle in London.
While he was eligible for one of the last remaining flights, his wife has not been granted resettlement and otherwise needs a visa to travel to the UK.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, the mechanic said he was worried about his wife living under Taliban rule.
The 24-year-old told the outlet: “When I saw how bad the situation was getting I began to worry about my wife because of her links to the military through her family.
“I spoke to my friends who were in the same situation and also wanted to go and get their wives and kids.
“We drove for 19 hours night and day without a break and after we met up with our families in Kabul we went straight to the airport.”
The man added 10 friends he made on his way to Kabul died in Thursday’s terror attack on Kabul’s airport.
He said: “We were standing with other British people showing our paperwork when I heard a big explosion.
“It was a few metres away from me and there were a lot of dead bodies, my clothes were full of blood.
“Ten of my friends died there. There was shooting so we all ran away but when we came back we couldn’t find another plane.
“Now I’m stuck in Kabul with my wife and there are no flights out.
“We’re in hiding and we can only go for a few miles around her house, the Taliban are everywhere and they are stopping cars. I’m worried they will find something on me that shows I’m British.
“My wife is stuck here because she can’t get a visa to go back through Uzbekistan, I don’t know what to do but I came here to rescue her and I’m not going to leave without her.”
It comes after Simon Gass, Boris Johnson’s special representative for Afghan transition, flew to Doha, Qatar, to meet Taliban representatives to “safe passage” out of Afghanistan for its citizens and Afghans who worked for Britain.
A Government statement said on Tuesday Mr Gass “is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past twenty years”.
The Prime Minister has also said Britain owed “an immense debt” to Afghans who worked with NATO forces as he announced, “vital support” for those resettling in the UK.
He said: “We owe an immense debt to those who worked with the Armed Forces in Afghanistan and I am determined that we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK.
“I know this will be an incredibly daunting time, but I hope they will take heart from the wave of support and generosity already expressed by the British public.”
Mr Johnson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab have come under fire for leaving some Britons and Afghans who worked for NATO behind in Afghanistan.
An unnamed minister told the Sunday Times: “I suspect we could have taken out 800-1,000 more people.”
Mr Raab will speak to the Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, with Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat saying ahead of the meeting “the last two weeks have been tough for so many of us: anger, shame, even incredulity”.
He added: “We never thought we would see the day NATO forces, led by the US, would turn their backs on the people of Afghanistan.
“How will we deal with the Taliban? How will Afghanistan shape our regional strategy? How will the government hold the Taliban to account for reverses in human rights?
“These questions, and so many others, will be put to the Foreign Secretary.”
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