A family who managed to flee the Taliban and escape the chaos in Afghanistan have successfully made it to the UK after a turbulent journey that saw the mum spend time unconscious after trudging through an open sewage drain to reach Kabul airport.
Due to threats, the family was one of hundreds who were trying to get help from British interpreters while they were knee deep in the sewer.
The family, like many refugees, waited in the sewer for five days before being extracted. They stood 500m from the airport entrance and were covered in filthy green water.
The father, a former British interpreter, and his partner, son and his now three-month-old baby, is thought to be one of just 99 interpreters families extracted throughout OpPitting – an evacuation process run by the British Military.
Carolyn Webster from Wales, a Welsh councillor, was part of a few volunteers who tried to bring British interpreters safely to Kabul. She shared with the Central Recorder her family’s horrible experience of being in Kabul, and then being forgotten about in UK Quarantine.
She told the Central Recorder: “Kabul fell to the Taliban so things really started to heat up so we were trying to help interpreters access the airport which was challenging as there were Taliban checkpoints.
“And this was one family that made it through the checkpoints and were waiting outside the airport to be admitted which was still a traumatic experience for five days.
“They were there during the terrorist explosion which was in the sewer which every family had to cross so they were there for all of that and they made it out.
” She [the mother] only had a baby two months before that and it was an exhausting experience.”
Carolyn said that the family’s nightmare continued, even after they arrived to the UK, and claims they were left for weeks in dire quarantine accommodation – which many have referred to as being like a prison.
She added: “They reached out to me after they had been stuck in quarantine and were unable to get clothing.
“It was affecting their mental well-being, as they were only allowed 20 minutes outside per day and they were in one room for the remainder of each day.
“They didn’t have access to clothing as they had to leave everything behind in Kabul when they left and quarantine didn’t allow for organisations to help with that unless they knew someone outside of the hotel.”
“And during quarantine, they had no contact or communication from government about what was happening and when.”
Carolyn said herself and the volunteers had finally been alerted that the family could move into their accommodation.
“I wanted to see them and the baby – the baby had been through so much so I was thrilled,” She said.
“It was a relief to see mum and dad and the little boy – you build up such a relationship with people through the communication that they are using and it’s quite something to put a physical presence to words which were in a box.
“They have their needs met right now – they would have had no one speaking to them and telling them that this is what’s happening or what’s not happening.”
She went on to say that it’s “our moral duty as a country” to help British interpreters who have been left behind.
“I don’t think that this country is upholding its duty in supporting the interpreters who walk the same path as our soldiers,” She said.
“These interpreters are doing it without weapons- they are still in danger – we’ve got hundreds of people over their still reaching out to us.”
Carolyn slammed the government for their response and has made a plea for Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to get in touch with her and the volunteers.
“This is why the interpreter with the baby is happy for us to go to the media with his story, because it creates awareness for his friends and colleagues that are still stuck – with their lives terribly at risk over there, ” She also added.
“Through us, they know people do actually care and that they are supported through the British public but not having any communication is beyond poor.”
Liz Truss has been contacted by the Central Recorder.
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