Afghan interpreter hails unsung British troops for rescue from Kabul
Afghanistan: UK 'faces trouble from Russia and China' says MP
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Burhan Vesal, 34, arrived at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday with his wife and their six-year-old son following a two-night journey. Having previously worked for the British Army, Mr Vesal thanked UK forces for helping evacuated as many people as possible from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over Kabul.
Mr Vesal said he believes British soldiers “don’t get enough praise” for their role in evacuating Afghans from Kabul.
The translator noted the British troops still in Afghanistan have worked in horrendous circumstances to process potential evacuees.
Mr Vesal then added British soldiers evacuating people out of Kabul had the “hardest job that there is to do in Afghanistan”.
With thousands of people surrounding the airport perimeter, he noted British troops had to process crowds of people who are “not eligible to fly”.
Speaking to the Metro after landing at Heathrow, Mr Vesal also said soldiers asked people if they were hungry or thirsty.
He then said: “They don’t get enough praise for the work they do.
“We are so grateful to them and to everyone else from the UK who has allowed us to be here in freedom.”
Mr Vesal and his family were given his date to fly on Monday, and will now quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.
It comes as British nationals in Afghanistan are being urged to stay away from Kabul airport over growing terrorism threats and a “volatile” security situation.
Revised Foreign Office advice issued on Wednesday night told those in the area of the airport to “move away to a safe location and await further advice”.
In the update, it said, “there is an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack”.
Travelling by road is “extremely dangerous”, Britons have been warned, with people alleged to have been “mistreated” on their way to the airport.
The Government has also said their operation to evacuate people from Afghanistan ahead of the August 31 deadline is moving at “significant pace”
As of 6pm on Wednesday, around 1,200 people were evacuated by the UK over 12 hours.
About 2,000 people eligible for the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) remain in the country.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also complained British military efforts to evacuate people from Kabul have been “diverted” because of the attempts to rescue animals being cared for by a former British Royal Marine.
The Defence Secretary said he found it “upsetting” that the military had been “diverted from saving .. people” because of “inaccurate stories” about what was happening to the 200 dogs and cats and workers under the care of ex-Marine Paul “Pen” Farthing.
Mr Wallace told MPs on Wednesday: “What I was not prepared to do is prioritise pets over people, I’m afraid you might dislike me for that but that’s my view, there are also some very, very desperate people under real threat.”
The Defence Secretary has also told Afghans who want to flee to Britain may be better off “trying to get to the border” than awaiting RAF evacuation.
Pressed by Tory MP Julian Lewis, Mr Wallace added: “I recommend that they try and make it to the border … because it is higher profile going to the airport – that is where the Taliban will be focusing their efforts at the moment.”
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