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02nd Apr 2023

British ‘Danger tourist’ who had to be rescued from Afghanistan is now been held by Taliban

Steve Hopkins

The government advises against all travel to the country

A 23-year-old who had to be rescued from Afghanistan after going on holiday there is now among three Britons held by the Taliban in the country, having reportedly returned there.

The UK government is in negotiations over the trio, who have been named as “danger tourist”, Miles Routledge, 23, charity medic Kevin Cornwell, 53, and an unnamed UK national who manages a hotel in Kabul.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to Afghanistan, where Miles was holidaying in August 2021 – having looked up the most dangerous places in the world to visit – when the Taliban took control of the country. He was later airlifted out when UK and allied forces left the country.

It emerged Saturday that the three Brits have been held by Taliban secret police since January in separate incidents.

In his last Facebook post on February 24, Miles is seen with a suitcase of cash and two gold bars, shaking hands with two other people.

In the carousel post, he shared a screenshot of a message from the Taliban Public Relations Department he had posted earlier, that read: “Our dear brother Mr. Miles visited our glorious country and embraced our beautiful religion. He is one of the few westerners who has experienced our authentic masculine lifestyle, free of homosexuality and feminism. We hope to see him again soon.”

A third pic in the post, was of a tweet he wrote (and also earlier shared on Facebook, via his LinkedIn), which reads: “If your network isn’t discussing beheading you, your (sic) not working hard enough and your (sic) an office-cel. Be an adventuer-chad and let your wife be scared of your life every time you go to work!”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “If there are risks to people’s safety, if they’re a British citizen abroad, then the UK government is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that they’re safe.

“The government is in negotiations and working hard to ensure people’s safety is upheld.” Asked directly if the government was in negotiations, Ms Braverman replied: “If there are problems and if there are safety concerns to British individuals abroad, then the FCO will be working actively to ensure people are safe.”

Read also: I have accepted death, says British student on Afghanistan holiday

She added that anybody travelling to dangerous parts of the world “should take the utmost caution” and should always act on the advice of FCDO.

It advises UK citizens that they could possibly be detained by the Taliban, and says there is a specific risk of detention of British nationals that the government may not be notified about. There are no consular officials in the country to provide assistance.

The UK maintains a rule of not negotiating with terrorists, but the Taliban in Afghanistan is not a proscribed terrorist group and Supreme Leader Hibutallah Akhundzada is not subject to sanctions, Sky News noted.

Miles has attracted considerable attention and controversy for his choice of holiday location, and his social media posts of his exploits.

Scott Richards from the Presidium Network non-profit organisation, which is assisting Cornwell and the unnamed Briton, told Sky News he believes the pair are in good health and being well treated.

However, he added that there had not been any “meaningful contact”.

Cornwell, Sky News reported, was arrested at his hotel by officers from the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence on 11 January and is accused of having an illegal firearm in the safe in his room.

Richards told Sky News Cornwall has a licence for the weapon and branded the incident a “misunderstanding”.