Afghanistan

Army veteran's phone call saved the life of Afghan soldier and his family

As Kabul fell, UK soldiers received messages from interpreters they worked with and ANA soldiers they mentored.

In August 2021, as Afghanistan collapsed and the Taliban took control of the country, thousands rushed to escape.

Many British veterans were contacted by interpreters who had served with them on the frontline and Afghan National Army soldiers they had mentored through training.

Former Army captain John Carson, who served on the frontline in Afghanistan in 2011, was contacted by Abdul, who was part of a desperate group of people crowding around the airport in Kabul looking for an escape.

John deployed again to the country in 2013 to train Afghan National Army officers at the Officer Training School which became known as Sandhurst in the Sand – and this is where he met Abdul.

"He came across as quite an honourable person. He was definitely capable," the former Army captain said.

They had, however, not kept in touch since then. "We hadn't kept in touch, to be honest, but I did leave my contact details and I guess the parting message was 'if you need any help, then give me a shout'," he said.

Abdul and his family then became part of the desperate crowds of people at the airport in Kabul, trying to flee the country.

He and his youngest son Omar, who was just 15 months old, were beaten as he carried him in his arms – battling to get his family to safety.

Abdul contacted John and remained in constant touch with him as he tried to find his escape.

Eventually, Abdul was able to find British personnel in Kabul so that John could explain over the phone that the family was registered under the ARAP scheme and that he was their UK sponsor.

A soldier in Kabul just responded with "no worries boss, I'll get it sorted" to John, and the safety of Abdul and his family was sealed.

John said: "I don't know who the guy was, but if he remembers that phone call, then thanks very much."