More than 150 Afghans who guarded Britain’s embassy in Kabul remain in the country, with several having detailed being beaten and tortured by the Taliban, the BBC reports.
Some of those employed by global security company GardaWorld had spent more than a decade in their postings, with one stating that they had been targeted by the new Afghan administration because of their work for the UK.
He said: “I was sitting outside when gunmen approached me. One of (them) then attacked me. They said you were working for the British embassy. They started beating me and they threw me on the ground. They attacked me again and again.”
Another spoke of being hit over the head with a rifle butt and being detained until he was able to persuade the Taliban he no longer worked for the British.
Human rights charity Azadi, which has been working to support and evacuate targeted Afghans, has condemned the UK government’s slow response, despite its continual proclamations of having moved thousands to safety.
Azadi director Sarah Magill said: “Through their inaction, the government has caused incalculable trauma. It is a deeply inhumane way to treat a body of staff entrusted to keep British ministers and civil servants safe.”
MPs have equally slammed the government response, with one group saying there had been a “total absence of a plan for evacuating Afghans who supported the UK mission.”
Attempting to quell ceaseless criticism, the government announced this week that the former guards would be able to apply to come to the UK from June 20 as part of its Afghan citizens resettlement scheme (ACRS), despite the program’s official launch in January.
The ACRS accompanies a separate scheme, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), aimed to relocate those who were employed directly by the British government.
One Afghan who arrived earlier this year under ARAP said that many of his former colleagues from the embassy were being threatened on a daily basis, adding that he felt the “British have been disloyal.”
He added: “They made a promise — these men worked hard for them and now their lives are at risk.
“I can’t sleep or eat without thinking of what they’re going through. They message me constantly asking for help.”