UK’s Betrayal of Afghan Special Forces Raises Concerns of Taliban Return

The recent revelation that around 200 members of Afghan special forces, who were trained and funded by the UK, are facing imminent deportation back to their Taliban-controlled homeland has sparked outrage and concerns about the consequences of this “betrayal”. These soldiers, who fled to Pakistan, now face the threat of being sent back to a country where their lives are at risk. The former UK general, Gen Sir Richard Barrons, described this situation as a “disgrace” and questioned the integrity and competence of the UK government. It is feared that this betrayal will have severe consequences, including loss of lives and imprisonment for those who served with the UK forces.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously acknowledged the importance of these Afghan special forces soldiers and promised to do “whatever we can” to ensure their safety. However, it appears that the UK government has failed to fulfill this promise, leading to accusations of being duplicitous or incompetent. The cost of this betrayal is not only the potential loss of lives but also the damage it does to the reputation of the UK and its commitment to its allies.

Furthermore, the government’s rejection of calls to offer asylum to key Afghan civilian leaders, who worked closely with the UK and US in Helmand Province, has intensified concerns about the treatment of those who supported the international forces. A private letter sent to the Foreign Office in March 2022 highlighted the urgent need for help for a group of 32 former governors, prosecutors, and officials who are in danger due to their association with the UK and US. These individuals had applied for assistance through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Programme (ARAP), but many of them were rejected or still await a decision after a year or more.

The rejection of these applications and the failure to provide adequate support demonstrate a lack of efficiency, effectiveness, and compassion in the UK’s system for fulfilling its commitments to those who risked their lives working alongside its military. This has left Afghan officials and the soldiers feeling abandoned and betrayed. The consequences are dire, as they now live in fear of deportation, unable to work and forced to hide in unsafe conditions. They are trapped and uncertain about their future.

Not only do these rejections betray the trust of those who sacrificed their safety and supported the UK’s mission, but they also undermine the credibility and reliability of the UK as an ally. The refusal to provide sanctuary to individuals like Mohammad Fahim, the former governor of Helmand’s Garmsir district, who played a crucial role in the fight against the Taliban, sends a disturbing message to other nations and progressive forces. How can they trust the West when even those who risked their lives in partnership with Western forces are left abandoned?

The UK government’s response to these concerns has been defensive. The Ministry of Defence claims that each ARAP application is assessed individually and based on published policy, denying any automatic decision based solely on job roles. They argue that the UK has already brought thousands of Afghans to safety and has made an “ambitious and generous commitment” to help eligible people in Afghanistan. However, these justifications seem inadequate in the face of the dangerous predicament faced by these Afghan special forces soldiers and civilian leaders.

The impact of this news is far-reaching. It not only exposes the vulnerability and abandonment of those who stood alongside the UK in the face of the Taliban but also raises doubts about the UK’s credibility as a reliable ally. The consequences are not only detrimental to those directly affected but also have wider implications for international relations and trust in Western nations. It serves as a grim reminder of the precariousness of alliances and the potential consequences of broken promises.

In conclusion, the UK’s betrayal of Afghan special forces and the rejection of asylum applications from key Afghan civilian leaders have sparked outrage and raised concerns about the dangers faced by those who supported the UK’s mission in Afghanistan. The potential consequences of this betrayal are dire, with loss of lives, imprisonment, and a damaged reputation for the UK. The rejection of these applications demonstrates a lack of efficiency and compassion in the UK’s system for fulfilling its commitments and leaves those affected feeling abandoned and betrayed. This news raises broader questions about the trustworthiness of the UK as an ally and the future of international collaborations.