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02nd Sep 2021

British ex-soldier arrested by Taliban while trying to evacuate 400 Afghans

Kieran Galpin

Ben Slater

Ben Slater will now attempt to get his staff visas

A former British soldier has been arrested by the Taliban after attempting to help 400 Afghans flee Kabul.

Ben Slater runs a chain of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Afghanistan and had been attempting to evacuate his staff over a land border after failing to secure spots for them and their families on the British airlift from Kabul that ended last week.

The 37-year-old was thrown in jail on Thursday morning after being questioned about his 50 staff, most of which are reportedly single women staying in hotel rooms near a border checkpoint.

Though it is not clear which country Slater and his team were attempting to flee to, the Daily Mail reports they were turned away at the border.

Slater was released later on Thursday and was told he could leave with one assistant, but the rest of his staff would have to remain in Afghanistan, The Telegraph reported.

Slater has told the newspaper that he will now try to secure visas for his staff from the UK or other western nations.

“The final blow to the op is that the UK are only granting myself and one of my executive assistants over the border today, and they haven’t even suggested they are going to issue the visas for some or the rest of my group,” he said.

“It’s a complete disaster really. It’s disgusting. It’s beyond horrible.”

Slater’s troubles come amid growing concerns that the Taliban will not honour their promise to allow people to leave Afghanistan.

A statement provided by United States, the United Kingdom and France earlier stated: “We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country.

“We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan.”

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