Afghanistan: Interpreters unable to escape describe terror as they hide from the Taliban

Interpreters trapped in Afghanistan have described their terror as they hide from the Taliban after the UK’s evacuation effort entered its final hours. 

One translator, who was injured in Thursday’s terror attack outside Kabul airport, told Sky News he is certain he will be killed by the Islamist group if found after being unable to flee the country.

Another interpreter, who worked with British armed forces from 2009 to 2011, says he has “no idea where to go” after his application to move to the UK was rejected.

Latest live updates from Afghanistan as evacuations resume after blasts

There are fears of Taliban reprisals for any locals who helped Western interests in Afghanistan following the militants’ takeover of the country.

Despite airlifting nearly 14,000 people out of Afghanistan in the past two weeks, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said “the sad fact is not every single one will get out”.

A translator, whose name and location are not being revealed for his safety, told Sky News he has gone into hiding after witnessing the first bombing yesterday.

He says he worked as an interpreter on construction projects and logistics operations run by British companies throughout Afghanistan from 2011 to 2016.

He claims that despite receiving confirmation from the Home Office that he is eligible for an evacuation flight, he was turned away from the airport by British soldiers after the explosions.

“All my hopes and dreams were to go to the UK,” he told Sky News.

“When I was rejected, I lost my mind. I was so angry. I tore my clothes, I smashed my phone. I was even happy to be killed.”

He believes he is certain he will be killed by the Taliban if the group finds him and, in a message to the British government, he said: “We have put our lives in danger, we took the risks.

“They shouldn’t leave me alone to these monsters.”

Another interpreter, who says he worked in “the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan” with British armed forces, told Sky News he is “terrified” after going into hiding with his family.

The man, whose identity is also being protected, claims his application to move to the UK was rejected “at the last minute” as he pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene.

He told Kay Burley on Sky News he is “hiding somewhere in Afghanistan” and has “no idea where to go”.

“I’m terrified,” he said.

“I worked with the British forces in the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan and I deserve to be relocated to the UK as soon as possible because we have served the British forces, and those people (the Taliban) know we have done that.”

The interpreter said he was told his visa application had been refused for reasons related to security but insisted he did not have a criminal record.

He believes his application may been rejected due to a “misunderstanding”.

“I would really appreciate it if the Home Office or Mr Boris Johnson would be able to do something for us,” he added.

The interpreter said he believes the Taliban knows the identities of Afghans who worked with coalition forces.

“They will find them,” he said. “I don’t know when.

“My neighbours know, my relatives, people I’ve worked with… those people know I’ve worked with coalition forces, so sooner or later they’ll be able to find us.”

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A government spokesperson said: “Nobody’s life should be put at risk because they supported the UK government in Afghanistan.

“Throughout the challenging situation in Kabul, UK personnel have rapidly processed hundreds of ARAP applications each day.

“We have significantly expanded and accelerated the relocation scheme and carefully assess each applicant for eligibility and security.

“Those who were dismissed for serious offences, including those that constitute a crime in the UK or threatened the safety and security of British troops, will continue to be excluded.”

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