British Army colonel begs UK to ‘save’ Afghans who helped soldiers from ‘ghastly betrayal’
Afghanistan: Colonel discusses Biden’s announcement
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Speaking to Times Radio earlier, Colonel Simon Diggins, former British defence attaché in Kabul, made a desperate plea to the British Government to help the Afghans who worked for the British Army. He said the British have a responsibility to the interpreters and locally employed staff who worked with the British throughout the war. He insisted that leaving former staff in Afghanistan would “the most awful and ghastly betrayal” as their lives come under threat from the Taliban.
Colonel Diggins stressed how Britain had responsibilities in Afghanistan and must follow the US’s lead in offering visa’s and assistance to those that helped our soldiers in Afghan as the West withdraws from the war-torn country and the Taliban threat inevitably rises.
He said: “We have a very specific responsibility to the people who worked for us there, our interpreters and other locally employed staff.
“There have been changes to the government policy but this particular scandal has been rumbling on now for about five or six years.”
Colonel Diggins added: “They are scared, they are scared stiff at the potential threat that they’re under now with the Taliban being largely kept at bay, or kept to a degree at bay.
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“With the Taliban allowed to have much more forward movement, much more able to penetrate, they are really scared.
“The American government has recognised this and has opened up its special visa programme and is also sending more administrative staff to their embassy in order to process their locally employed staff.”
He then pleaded the British Government to save the Afghans that helped our soldiers, saying: “My plea, my absolute plea, to the British Government is if you are going to go down this line, do not leave behind our former interpreters, our former locally employed staff.”
The former attaché warned: “Their lives are in danger and to abandon them would just be the most awful and ghastly betrayal.”
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The desperate plea comes as US President Joe Biden is expected to outline plans to pull US troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, despite warnings the move could encourage Taliban attacks on US forces.
One senior administration official confirmed on Tuesday the US’ intention to leave the country.
They said: “We have long known that there is no military solution to the problems plaguing Afghanistan.”
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But military sources warned that a prompt exodus could leave the US in a debilitated position in the face of potential Taliban attacks.
Global economist Cailin Birch pointed out last month that Mr Biden is likely to focus on decreasing US military presence in foreign countries.
Ms Birch told Express.co.uk: “Broadly, we expect the Biden administration to take a more multilateral approach than the US has in recent decades while seeking to minimise its military engagements abroad.
“However, Mr Biden is also likely to honour the US’s existing security partnerships and remain engaged in current conflicts, if withdrawal would risk deteriorating conditions on the ground.”
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