Afghanistan

'They Will Shoot Me And My Family': Interpreters Hiding From Taliban In Desperate Wait For Help

Forces News spoke to an interpreter currently hiding from the Taliban, with his pregnant wife and three children, in Afghanistan.

A former interpreter for the British military in Afghanistan has told Forces News he cannot leave his house through fear of being shot by the Taliban.

The interpreter, who we have chosen not to name over fears for his safety, told Forces News the situation in Afghanistan is "not good" as former Afghan staff continue the desperate wait for assistance from the British Government.

"There is a lot of Taliban near my compound here in my village, so I can’t go out from my home because when I go out, the Taliban knows me and..., one day, they will kill me," he said.

The interpreter, who is currently in hiding with his pregnant wife and three young children, said they "don't have food", adding his wife needs a doctor.

"It's very dangerous for me, and how we can go, how we can go out?" he said.

"They will kill all my family with me, so I can't [go] out."

Watch: Afghanistan - MOD accused of 'criminal negligence' over interpreters left behind.

Former defence minister Johnny Mercer told Forces News the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) resettlement programme has been "behind the curb from the off".

"Consequently, the evacuation's become very panicked, very difficult," he said.

Mr Mercer acknowledged the "herculean efforts" by British personnel during the evacuation of Kabul airport.

"But it has to be seen within the context of what was going on, which is an Afghan relocation scheme that many better people than me have tried for a longer period of time to change," he said.

"The way we were treated by the Home Secretary, the Defence Secretary, accusing us of going on misreporting and saying things that were clearly untrue.

"We knew at the time that was going to come and bite us, we didn't know how quickly it would be, the fall of Kabul, but those events have now transpired and we have left the majority of our people behind.

Watch: Afghanistan - Taliban soldiers kidnapping and killing former interpreters.

"In my view, that is criminally negligent and it's shameful for our country and, for some of us, it's pretty difficult to take, actually."

It comes after the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched an investigation after a "significant" data breach reportedly exposed the email addresses of around 250 interpreters who remain in Afghanistan.

Jamal, a former interpreter who served with the British Forces for eight years, and was shot twice whilst on patrol with them, told Forces News the MOD "have not done their job properly".

He added the MOD have put the lives of Afghan Interpreters "at risk". 

"So all interpreter[s], they're incredibly hopeless," he said.

Jamal now lives in the UK, but his father, who is also eligible for resettlement, was left behind at Kabul Airport and was part of the MOD data leak.

A week ago, he drove the rest of his family to Pakistan to seek refuge but said he has received no help from the British Consulate there and says he is still not safe.

"If you look at the other countries, they are supporting their interpreters," he said.

"From the 31st August, no one has been evacuated to... Britain, the eligible staff, no one."

If you or someone you know needs support at this time, you can find more information by visiting the British Army website and the Government's website.

Further details about support available can be found on our website.