A British man who fled Afghanistan with his pregnant wife has begged for help after UK authorities turned his mother and sister away from his evacuation flight.
Mohammad, whose name has been changed to protect his family, arrived at a compound in Kabul for an evacuation flight last week with his wife, who is due to give birth early next year, elderly mother, and sister.
The 24-year-old cab driver from London said his mother, in her 70s, persuaded him to go on without her and her daughter after they were refused access by UK authorities.
He has British citizenship and his wife was granted access with him, but his mother and sister were carrying Afghan passports and ID cards.
“They cried, I was crying … I was about to refuse to come [to the UK] when I just look up and my mum told us ‘at least you can go,’” he told the PA news agency.
“I can’t [describe] the feeling … I’m very confused, and life is full of stress.
“I fear for their lives and have not slept for days.”
Mohammad said his mother and sister are alone in the country and there is “no-one to support them to look after them”—adding he fears his sister, in her 20s, will be forced into marriage with a Taliban member.
He added that he was told by the British authorities in Kabul that he could request for their settlement once he had returned to the UK.
In a letter addressed to UK government officials, shared with PA, Mohammad said: “I have no other family in Afghanistan that could help and support them … I am desperate and you are my only hope.
“I beg the government to allow them to relocate and move away from Afghanistan as their lives are in danger and there is no possibility of a brighter future for them.
“Our only hope is to seek shelter for them here in the UK … I work full-time and I have a home, and I can attend to all their daily needs.”
Four months ago the Briton returned to Afghanistan, the nation he fled as a 14-year-old refugee 10 years ago, to help his wife with her English exams after her application for British citizenship failed in September 2020.
“The reason why I left the country was because of [the Taliban] … I lost a member of my family because of them in the past,” he added.
He had feared he would not be able to get his wife out of the country without a UK passport, but both arrived in the UK last Friday after being evacuated by British authorities.
The couple are now quarantining in a hotel as Afghanistan is on the UK’s coronavirus red list, and will be there until next Tuesday.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Our staff are working tirelessly to facilitate the swift evacuation of British nationals, Afghan staff, and others at risk.
“The scale of the evacuation effort is huge and we have helped more than 10,200 people leave Afghanistan since Aug. 13.”
The government body said vulnerable Afghans seeking resettlement should call +44 (0) 2475 389980 or go to gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.
By Edd Dracott