No way out: Interpreters fear that fleeing from Afghanistan by land is almost impossible as borders close, Taliban put up checkpoints and last US evacuation flight leaves Kabul
Escaping Afghanistan by land is all but impossible because borders are closed, foreign embassies have been abandoned and the Taliban have put up hundreds of checkpoints, former interpreters warned yesterday.
The limited options were laid bare in a briefing document circulated among British military officers as the final RAF evacuation flights left Kabul at the weekend.
It examines all the rescue options through Afghanistan’s neighbours – but spells out that few are currently realistic or viable.
The shocking assessment came as a former bodyguard to the British ambassador pledged to lead 400 refugees on a dramatic escape mission
The most obvious route is through Pakistan but the document warns that this ‘is looking very problematic’.
Examining Pakistan’s key routes, the document says that the popular Torkham crossing is ‘now impassable’ and ‘blocked by Taliban’.
Referring to the crossing from the town of Spin Boldak, the note says there are ‘huge numbers of people at the border’.
Dit gaan voort: ‘Only trucks are being allowed to cross at the moment and people with an existing Afghan refugee card for Pakistan.’ It adds that Tajikistan is ‘looking the most humanitarian’ and is ‘preparing for 100,000 arrivals’. But the note continues: ‘Certain countries are just closed.’
Uzbekistan is said to be closed to those without a visa, with the note adding: ‘Even Afghans who live [daar] are not being allowed back in.’ Turkmenistan is shut to Afghan nationals trying to cross, according to the document. And Iran has ‘closed its borders in all three provinces neighbouring Afghanistan to stop Afghans crossing’.
There is no reference to the border with China, which is not expected to allow Afghans in even though Beijing has fostered a relationship with the Taliban.
Vliegtuie word laat op Augustus op die teerpad op die lughawe in Kaboel gesien 30, 2021, hours ahead of a US deadline to complete its frenzied withdrawal from Afghanistan
Details of several British embassies in the neighbouring countries are given but the note warns that the one in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is currently closed.
The shocking assessment came as a former bodyguard to the British ambassador pledged to lead 400 refugees on a dramatic escape mission.
Ben Slater, 37, who helped dozens of people get on ‘freedom flights’ last week, was left stranded in Kabul apparently due to bureaucratic issues with the Foreign, Statebond en Ontwikkelingskantoor (FCDO).
But Mr Slater, who ran a humanitarian group in Afghanistan, is now working with the FCDO to lead vulnerable Afghans to a neighbouring country from where he and they can fly to Britain.
Het hy gisteraand gesê: ‘It is going to be a long trip, I am hoping the FCDO will have sorted out our visas so our vulnerable staff can reach their destination.’