‘The Taliban shot my wife in the head’: ex-UK government contractor | Afghanistan

Asif* has misplaced nearly every part since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. His wife was shot lifeless. He fled to Pakistan however has no authorized standing there and resides in a mosque whereas looking for remedy for recurrent most cancers. He labored for the United Nations and different worldwide organisations together with the former UK Division for Worldwide Growth (DfID). Till 2016 he additionally labored for Adam Smith Worldwide on British government-funded initiatives.

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Afghanistan: the left behind


Afghanistan: the left behind


The crowds preventing to get into Kabul airport for evacuation dispersed months ago,
however whereas the scramble to depart Taliban-controlled Afghanistan turned
much less seen when the final overseas troops left in August 2021, it received no
much less determined.

Since then, reprisal killings have often been reported from throughout the nation, together with dozens detailed in a recent report from Human Rights Watch.

For these nonetheless in Afghanistan, residing in hiding or in everlasting worry for months now, the risks appear to be rising as the choices for escape slim.

The UK government has tightened rules for its ARAP visa programme for former workers.

A second scheme providing a path to security to a wider part of Afghans in danger was heavily promoted by the government however it solely began operating this month, and there aren’t any particulars of how people can apply.

And whereas the Taliban
have largely stored a promise to permit these with tickets and paperwork
to fly out, Afghan passports are tough to safe , visas are even
tougher, and flights are nonetheless prohibitively costly.

collection options the tales of those that are trapped, in Afghanistan or
in limbo as they seek for secure haven, fearing for his or her lives from
Taliban assaults or by means of starvation as a result of they can’t work.

Emma Graham-Harrison

Thanks to your suggestions.

In September, my wife went to the home of 1 my family members with one other member of the family to gather a few of our belongings – she was three months pregnant with our first little one. They went at midnight, in order that they wouldn’t be seen or recognised.

However somebody should have reported them, as a result of early in the morning the Taliban got here to the home and began taking pictures. She had been asleep, and when she got here out to see what was occurring, one in all the Taliban simply shot her in the head.

Three days later, she died in hospital. After she died they detained the different member of the family for just a few days and stated: “We gained’t launch you till you say the place Asif is.”


I labored with the United Nations and different worldwide organisations together with DfID for over 14 years. After I took on a senior function with Adam Smith Worldwide, typically I used to be one in all the solely Afghans in management conferences. I travelled rather a lot round all the provinces for work, which made me a bit excessive profile, and I used to be implementing systemic reforms in opposition to corruption.

There was a Taliban mullah in my dwelling province who used to name me and ask for money, for telephone credit score for his fighters. [In Afghanistan, under the now-fallen republic, many organisations and people paid off the Taliban for security.] He used to name me “bacha angrez” (son of the British) after I refused, saying I used to be not even Afghan. He known as 10 or 20 occasions, however I all the time rejected their requests, as a result of I by no means thought the Taliban would take over, I by no means thought I wanted to maintain these folks.

Even when the Taliban took over, I used to be very assured that I wasn’t in danger, as a result of I used to be not corrupt and I did nothing improper. However in early August I came upon that the mullah had requested folks to seek out me at any price. So I left my home, and contacted my former employers, informed them these folks wished to kill me they usually despatched me the [UK government’s] Afghan relocations and assistance policy link. I utilized the similar day, and some days later I received an e mail asking about my dependents. I replied immediately, however I by no means received any extra calls or any response, and on 27 August the evacuation completed. In these 10 days I moved home 4 occasions, then when there have been no extra flights I made a decision I needed to go away Afghanistan, at any price and by any route.

I got here to Kandahar province the place smugglers had made a gap below the border fence with Pakistan. We crossed and walked for round 4 hours, barefoot, so our sneakers wouldn’t make a sound. It was then my wife went to the home to gather the belongings – she wished to hitch me and had utilized for a visa. It was a love marriage. We by no means thought they might assault her. She had two surgical procedures however handed away later in the month.

I can not return. Household and buddies all inform me when the Taliban see you they won’t await one minute to kill you. However right here I’ve no authorized paperwork, I can’t go to the guesthouse, I can’t hire a room, that is actually the drawback. And docs informed me the most cancers has returned.

Generally I stick with buddies. After I see there isn’t a place, I am going and cross my night time in a mosque. The UK is just not accepting us, I can’t return to Afghanistan. So what to do? We have been improper to work for the UK.

*The title has been modified for this text.

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