Report: Afghans Who Worked with UK Forces Still Stuck in Afghanistan
Story Code : 970394
British Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly has confirmed that of the 311 former UK staff and their family members left behind in Afghanistan, more than half (167) remain trapped in the country, The Independent reproted.
"We have left thousands behind, not 167. Those are simply the ones who had a response to the ARAP [Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy] programme," former Defense Minister Johnny Mercer told the daily.
"Those figures are simply the number who were called forward but didn’t make it to the airport," he added.
Interpreters and other local staff who had worked with British forces told the newspaper that they are in hiding in Afghanistan with their families because the Taliban is "searching" for them.
Mercer noted that "the vast majority" of people who should have been evacuated from Afghanistan under the ARAP program were left behind, because the British scheme was ineffective and thousands didn’t get a response.
"All the ministers know this, but they are determined to move on from our commitments to these people," Mercer continued.
In early August, the Taliban stepped up their offensive and entered Kabul on August 15, which led to the collapse of the US-backed government. The developments prompted a mass evacuation of foreigners as well as Afghans who had collaborated with or worked for foreign troops and organizations.
On September 7, the Taliban announced the composition of an all-male interim government in Afghanistan headed by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, who served as a foreign minister during the first Taliban rule. Akhund has been under UN sanctions since 2001.