‘We have been forgotten’: British embassy security officer in Kabul | Afghanistan

Abdullah*, 34, was a security guard at the British Embassy, ​​employed under contract by Gardaworld, and had a senior management role, caring for other employees of the embassy guards. Him and around 180 colleagues had hoped to be evacuated to the UK at the end of August, but the evacuation was halted by a bomb at the airport. the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has a clear commitment that all GardaGlobal staff would be allowed to travel to the UK, but this has not happened.

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Afghanistan: the left behind

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Afghanistan: the left behind

Crowds battling to enter Kabul airport for evacuation dispersed months ago, but if the scramble to leave Taliban-held Afghanistan became less visible as the last foreign troops departed in August 2021, she is no less desperate.

Since then, reprisal killings have been regularly reported across the country, including dozens detailed in a recent report by Human Rights Watch.

For those still in Afghanistan, living in hiding or in constant fear for months now, the dangers seem to be increasing as the options for escape narrow.

The UK government has tightened the rules of its ARAP visa program for former employees.

A second program providing a pathway to safety for a larger portion of at-risk Afghans has been heavily promoted by the government, but it only started operating this month, and there are no details on how. how individuals can apply.

And while the Taliban have largely delivered on their promise to allow those with tickets and documents to fly, Afghan passports are hard to come by, visas are even harder and flights are still prohibitively expensive. .

This series features the stories of those trapped in Afghanistan or limbo as they seek safe refuge, fearing for their lives from Taliban attacks or starving because they cannot not working.

Emma Graham Harrison

Thank you for your opinion.

We have heard nothing from the Home Office or the FCDO and life is getting very hard for anyone who has worked for the British Embassy. Surviving when there is no income and no work is very difficult. We are still hoping to receive an email regarding evacuation plans, but we haven’t heard anything. The UK government helps footballers and writers to leave the country, but we haven’t received any help. We think we should be on the front line because we risked our lives for the British government. This is a huge disappointment for all of us.

All the French embassy guards have been evacuated; German and Australian governments continue to evacuate embassy staff; the Canadian government even evacuated cleaners and carpenters; but the British embassy, ​​which was one of the biggest embassies in Kabul, left us. We wonder why we have been forgotten. Do they see us as a threat to them?

Most of us have already sold our possessions – televisions, carpets, everything – in order to have money to buy food. People are on the streets selling stuff everyday, but you can’t get much for your stuff, you have to accept about 30% of the real value. I sold our car and managed to get the landlord to halve our rent from $400 to $200 a month, and I’m lucky to have a brother in the UK who is able to send some money to support us. But everything has become so expensive in the markets that the money will not last long.

One of the guards called me last week crying and told me he had sold everything except the cell phone he was talking on; he said he was keeping it so he could check an email from the British government with news of an evacuation plan. We send emails every day, but they just say: you have to wait. My daughter is four and a half years old and should go to nursery, but there is nothing. We keep her and her brother, who is two and a half, at home most of the time because we don’t feel safe going out. If anyone found out that I had worked for the British government, it would be very dangerous; one of my former colleagues has already been beaten up. We don’t leave the house very often anymore.

A UK government spokesman said: “The The government will honor its commitments to relocate British Council workers and GardaWorld employees who are at risk.

*Name has been changed for this item.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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