Abandoned: Teachers who gave English classes across Afghanistan

Abandoned: Teachers who gave English classes and promoted UK values to across Afghanistan now live in fear the Taliban

  • Dozens of Asghans who taught English fear being ‘abandoned’ to the Taliban
  • More than 100 former British Council employees had sanctuary requests rejected
  • Others fear they will be ‘left behind’ to face wrath of the Taliban for being ‘spies’

Dozens of Afghans who taught English and promoted UK values to thousands across the country fear being ‘abandoned’ to the Taliban.

More than 100 former employees of the British Council have seen their requests for sanctuary rejected.

And many more fear they too will be ‘left behind’ to face the revenge of the Taliban after being branded ‘spies’ and the ‘voice of the English’. One rejected teacher told how his home has twice been attacked by gunmen in the last month.

Another – who had worked for the British in rural Afghanistan for 13 years – described how a leader at his local mosque had pointed at him warning that anyone ‘supporting British Council [BC] and teaching its language is an infidel’.

Dozens of Afghans who taught English and promoted UK values to thousands across the country fear being ‘abandoned’ to the Taliban. Pictured: File image of an Union Jack being carried from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan as the last British troops left the base

A 29-year-old female teacher in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif sobbed as she said: ‘I am the local face of Britain, everyone knows me as I promote them in 50 schools with hundreds of pupils so I will be pointed out to the Taliban.

‘Their fighters are close to the city and when they find me, they will kill me, [my] three year-old daughter and husband too – he will be punished first for allowing his wife to leave home and to work as a traitor… to the Taliban. It is a crime for any woman to work.’

She added: ‘I do not understand why Britain thinks it is right to leave us behind when we have been teaching its language, virtues and values.’ 

The Afghan teachers, trainers and managers say they applied for sanctuary under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy but were rejected because they were contracted and not directly employed by the Government – although they were paid by the BC, the UK’s international organisation for promoting culture and education.

Concerned teachers and former BC staff contacted the Daily Mail appealing for their case to be highlighted as part of our Betrayal of the Brave campaign. But they asked not to be named for security reasons. One British former senior BC official said teachers and trainers felt ‘frustrated’ and ‘abandoned’.

He added: ‘What is harder to fathom is why those positioned to act to resolve the situation are dragging their heels so much, as the situation is becoming more critical by the day.

More than 100 former employees of the British Council have seen their requests for sanctuary rejected. And many more fear they too will be ‘left behind’ to face the revenge of the Taliban after being branded ‘spies’ and the ‘voice of the English’. File image of a British Army soldier in Afghanistan

‘It begs the question, “How many former BC teachers and trainers need to die before the UK Government wakes up to their plight, and to their own responsibility to act?”’

A Government spokesman said: ‘We have significantly expanded and accelerated the relocation scheme and carefully assess each applicant… Those who were dismissed for serious offences, including those that constitute a crime in the UK or threatened the safety and security of British troops, will continue to be excluded.’

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