British ex-NATO official reveals how three Afghan ex-colleagues with young families detained in Kabul under Taliban death sentence
- ** EXCLUSIVE **
- British ex-NATO official fears Afghan ex-colleagues trapped under Taliban
- Three men in their thirties with young families have received death threats in the past
- They worked on the military side of Kabul Airport for NATO and are desperately on the run
A former British NATO official has told how three Afghan ex-colleagues are being held in Kabul under the Taliban’s death sentence over fears they have been abandoned by the organization.
The men, in their thirties with young families, have received death threats from the Taliban because they have all worked for NATO on the military side of Kabul Airport in the past, and are desperate to flee Afghanistan.
But now that the door is closing on the international evacuation efforts at the airport where they used to work, none of them have been given a way out.
“They don’t know where to turn,” said their ex-British colleague who asked not to be named to protect the identities of his friends.
All the while, after providing their details to NATO and applying to Britain’s ARAP program for former civilians who worked with the military, they were assured, ‘Hold on, there’s a plan.’
“Well, now the door is closing and it’s pretty obvious there’s no plan, or if there was, before long.
“There are so many ways this could have been handled, but this whole operation just turned into a clusterf***!
Three Afghan men, in their thirties with young families, have received death threats from the Taliban because they have all worked for NATO on the military side of Kabul Airport in the past, and are desperately on the run (Pictured: evacuees running to be handled at Hamid Karzai International Airport of Kabul)
One of the former NATO workers had taken his documents with his wife to the Baron Hotel near the airport two days ago, but he was fired at the perimeter with a rifle by the Taliban and was not allowed to continue (Photo: Taliban forces blockade the roads around Kabul airport Friday)
Two bodies in body bags after double suicide bombing at Kabul airport as evacuation attempts grow more difficult
“These guys worked for NATO at the airport for years in various jobs and after the Taliban took over they first contacted me for a reference letter but then I started helping them contact people and the ARAP forms online to fill in.
“But what annoys me the most is that they trusted us, and when they’re told something will be done to help them, they believe it.”
He said one of the men had taken his documents with his wife to the Baron Hotel near the airport two days ago, but that he was beaten with a gun on the perimeter by the Taliban and was not allowed to proceed.
His wife was knocked unconscious and trampled in the crowd, so they turned around, and luckily for them, they weren’t in the same spot on Thursday where two horrific suicide bombings claimed more than 100 lives.
The former official added: “These guys have received letters from the Taliban accusing them of being foreign spies.
“Having worked for NATO as a baggage handler just a few years ago means they are infected for life.
“They’ve all had to move from home to stay with friends and they’re terrified. I know buses are still being built in Kabul for these types of people, but it is inevitable that bribes change hands and people who were contractors, rather than direct NATO employees, queue up and are flown out .’
“I’ve also heard stories of Taliban getting on the buses and checking names, which is a terrifying thought in itself, and that buses aren’t allowed in.”
He said if help was not forthcoming before the airport closed for good, the men should consider trying to escape through Pakistan, but added: “The images from the various border checkpoints are no longer encouraging – it looks horrible to do that is unthinkable with a pregnant woman and children.’
A NATO spokesman told MailOnline: “We cannot comment on individual cases, but we have passed these details on to colleagues involved in the evacuation process.”