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Elite Afghan commandos ‘betrayed’ by the British and left behind to be hunted down | World Information

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“I really feel betrayed by the British.”

As soon as a part of an elite Afghan particular forces unit, Shaheen and his two brothers spent years combating side-by-side with UK commandos.

However when Kabul fell to the Taliban in the chaos of August 2021, so lots of his comrades had been left behind. His brother Qahraman was hunted down and murdered.

“We had been like one household,” he says. “I can not bear to listen to about my colleagues hiding now in Afghanistan, their lives in peril.”

Sky Information can reveal that dozens of troopers who served in two Afghan particular forces models that had been arrange, educated and paid for by the British have since been murdered or tortured by the Taliban.

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Working with Lighthouse Reviews and The Impartial, Sky Information has verified dozens of {cases} through which the Taliban has focused and bodily harmed these former commandos who risked their lives alongside the British.

Members of the Triples with British veteran Charlie Herbert

Shaheen advised Sky Information how for years he and his two brothers had been a part of Commando Pressure 333 (CF333), an Afghan particular forces unit established by the British in 2002.

His title and the title of his brother have been modified on this story for his household’s safety.

Within the mid-2000s, there have been nonetheless pockets of Taliban fighters dotted round Afghanistan, regardless of their regime being toppled by the coalition of worldwide forces, together with the US and UK.

Generally known as the Triples, CF333 and fellow unit ATF444 launched into joint missions with the British to battle the remaining Taliban – and acquired salaries from the British authorities for doing so, it may be revealed for the primary time.

The camp the place they and British commandos had been based mostly grew to become a house for Shaheen and his brothers, he tells Sky Information.

They took delight of their work and had been concerned in particular operations round Afghanistan, placing themselves in peril for his or her nation.

“Though they had been youthful than me, my brothers and I had been so shut that we had been pals,” Shaheen says.

SHAHEEN (pseudonym) interview - do not use his real name
Shaheen says he has misplaced every part

Chaos as Kabul fell to the Taliban

With the US and UK saying they had been pulling out of Afghanistan after 20 years, Taliban fighters swept throughout the nation and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than they had been on the gates of Kabul.

“I did not know what to do,” Shaheen says. “I did not return residence as a result of I might be a high goal for the Taliban.

“So for 2 days, I used to be wandering within the streets of Kabul, not realizing after I can be killed.”

Together with Qahraman and a few of their comrades, Shaheen was in a position to get contained in the airport, the final a part of town not underneath Taliban management. Their different brother had managed to go away Afghanistan by crossing the border elsewhere.

“The situations had been horrible on the airport,” Shaheen says. “I noticed girls and kids being stampeded upon. Folks had been overwhelmed with batons, it was horrendous.”

Whereas Shaheen was allowed on a flight out of Afghanistan, his brother was turned away.

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Sky’s chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay reporting from Kabul airport in 2021

Qahraman hunted down by the Taliban

Shaheen says after Qahraman left the airport “he was noticed and adopted”, and went to their sister’s residence.

He didn’t depart the home for 10 days. When he lastly did, a bunch of individuals shot him.

Requested if he blames the British for his brother’s dying, Shaheen says: “He did lots of exhausting work for the British. When he was kicked out of the airport, he grew to become a goal.”

Now residing in Birmingham along with his spouse and kids in a cramped home, Shaheen says he’s a shell of his former self.

“I misplaced every part,” he says.

“I do not even have 10% of what I used to be. Even right here, I haven’t got something to be happy with.”

SHAHEEN (pseudonym) interview - do not use his real name
Shaheen speaks to Sky Information reporter Michael Drummond

‘Unjust’ cause to disclaim Triples entry to UK

Regardless of serving shoulder-to-shoulder with British troops, nearly all of the Triples weren’t evacuated in August 2021 and have subsequently been rejected underneath the UK’s scheme for relocating Afghans who labored with the British – generally known as the Afghan Relocation and Help programme (ARAP).

Most have been advised it is because they didn’t work “alongside, in partnership with or carefully supporting… a UK authorities division” – regardless of compelling proof on the contrary.

One British veteran, who served alongside the Triples for 5 years, stated the connection between the Afghan and UK models was a “fully symbiotic partnership”.

“We had been fully embedded,” the veteran stated. “We had been one unit. You could not work extra hand in glove with the British than they did.”

Members of the Triples during training
Members of the Triples throughout coaching with British forces

Charlie Herbert, a former British Military main normal who served in Afghanistan, stated denying the Triples entry to the UK on the idea that they didn’t work alongside, work in partnership with or carefully assist the UK armed forces, is “each disingenuous and unjust”.

He added: “I can consider no different Afghan safety forces who had been extra carefully aligned to the UK than 333 and 444, nor who extra loyally or bravely supported our navy aims.”

One other veteran, who served alongside the CF333s, stated: “They put their lives on the road, correctly combating with us, for us. They had been the nationwide pressure doing the UK authorities’s bidding. That can’t be extra aligned with the UK’s strategic pursuits.”

Conversations with present and former UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources counsel that the UK Particular Forces division was successfully “blocking” the Triples from being accepted underneath ARAP.

It’s unclear why.

Learn extra from Sky Information:
Afghanistan: How the US lost its longest war
The story of how the ‘greatest military force’ abandoned Afghanistan

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. Twin tragedies on opposite sides of the world are piling misery on people that have seen far more than their share. In Afghanistan, a group of gunmen known for sadistic tyranny rocketed back into power after 20 years as Western and Afghan leaders walked away with a sad shrug. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)
Taliban fighters in Kabul in August 2021 after their takeover. Pic: AP

Ministry of Defence: We have now by no means issued blanket choices

When approached, the MoD didn’t deny that UK Particular Forces was refusing to approve the {cases}.

An MoD spokesperson stated: “The UK authorities has made an bold and beneficiant dedication to assist eligible individuals in Afghanistan. To this point, now we have introduced round 24,600 individuals to security, together with 1000’s of individuals eligible for our Afghan schemes.

“The MoD has by no means issued blanket choices on purposes from any cohort who’ve utilized to the ARAP scheme. All eligibility choices are made on a case-by-case foundation towards strict standards taken in accordance with the Immigration Guidelines and based mostly on the proof offered by people.”

Shaheen, like so lots of his surviving comrades, desires to know why they had been left behind and for the obvious block on Triples purposes to be lifted.

However for therefore many, it’s already too late. They’ve already been hunted down by the Taliban.

“There is a saying in my nation,” Shaheen says. “On one hand, there is a cliff – and on the opposite, is a tiger ready for you, so you do not have a lot selection.”

Story in cooperation with: Could Bulman, investigations editor at Lighthouse Reviews, Fahim Abed, investigations editor at Lighthouse Reviews and Monica C Camacho, OSINT reporter at Lighthouse Reviews

Further reporting by Katy Scholes, Sky Information worldwide producer

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