Taliban are on the trail of revenge: Jihadis start hunt for translators as soon as Western troops exit Afghanistan
Within hours of Western troops leaving, triumphant Taliban fighters began raiding the homes of interpreters left behind in Kabul yesterday.
The terrified former translators hid as armed jihadis bent on revenge went knocking door-to-door.
Despite a promise of amnesty from the Taliban leadership, the insurgents wasted no time in hunting down the ‘traitors’ who helped the British.
One search party was said to have been led by an imam who is now a local Taliban commander. He knew ex-translator Kaleem, a veteran of five years on the front lines with British forces.
Taliban fighters (pictured) began raiding the homes of interpreters left behind in Kabul yesterday, within hours of Western troops leaving
Kaleem told the Mail: ‘The mullah knew me from the mosque. Everyone knew that he was Taliban and he had been arrested by the Afghan government. But when all the prisoners were released, he was among them and he is leading the hunt for those who were the eyes of Western forces.’
Kaleem, 35, qualified for relocation to the UK but was among hundreds unable to board an evacuation flight because of chaos surrounding Kabul airport.
He said: ‘He knocked on the door. He was with bodyguards carrying AK-47s asking where I was but my family said I was not in. They were very scared.
‘They thought they would be taken away. I was in hiding and did not move. We thought they would search the house, but they didn’t and warned they would return. We are all terrified they will find me or punish the family if they don’t. I will die if they find me.’
Kaleem added: ‘No one believes the Taliban’s words of forgiveness. We helped the British kill and capture their men.
‘We provided the intelligence to fight against them. We questioned their captured and injured – so it is simple that they will want revenge.’
Former interpreters – many strangers to the capital – are moving hiding places regularly. They are purging phones of photos and numbers linking them to Britain.
They fear their biometric details are now with the Taliban after they seized records of thousands of Afghans who worked with foreign forces and the government. When Taliban fighters took control of Kabul some immediately went to the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Communications with the apparent aim of securing files of Afghan intelligence officers and their informers.
For Faiz, 31, the knock on the door of the Kabul house where he was staying with his wife and five children sparked panic.
His wife answered the door while he escaped through a window at the back, hiding among rubbish. Faiz, who worked for UK forces over three years, said it is the third house they have moved to since the Taliban arrived in Kabul. He was rejected for relocation as he had been dismissed.
Threat: Fardin, 40, (pictured) who worked with UK forces for more than 15 years and came to Britain in July with his wife and six children, says his family in Afghanistan has been targeted
Faiz said: ‘I think that informers among our neighbours gave us up. Every house we go to, I have to look for an escape route. This is what has happened to me because I worked for the British and have been left behind.’
The cases of Faiz and Kaleem have been highlighted by the Mail’s award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign.
Dozens who risked their lives beside British soldiers have been brought to the UK. But they have told how their families have become targets.
Fardin, 40, worked with UK forces for more than 15 years and came to Britain in July with his wife and six children.
He said: ‘The Taliban came to our home asking for me. When my brother said I had gone away, they called him a liar, slapping and shouting at him, loading their AK-47s and pointing it at him.
‘They were intimidating the family – none knew if they would open fire. They searched the house and said the issue of my location was open and they would return for me.’
He added: ‘Everyone is very frightened because I was well-known so they want to make an example of my family. We feel helpless and do not know what to do. My family is their target because of me.’