A father-of-two who received a terrifying death sentence on headed notepaper from the Taliban has won the right to stay in the UK.
Omid Sarwary, 29, received a series of phone calls from men working for senior Taliban commander Molvi Abdus Samad in 2017 while working for British security company Olive Group at an airport in Herat, Afghanistan.
The security officer and translator refused when the men on the phone urged him to help them access the airport and reported the calls to his managers at the firm where he had worked since 2013 and changed his number.
After, the Taliban began to send letter to his family home accusing him of spying and warning him against working for foreigners.
Mr Sarwary refused to help the Taliban access the airport where he worked and was accused of ‘spying’ by the murderous group and forced to flee Afghanistan
Omid reported the letters to the local police but was told there was nothing they could do to protect him outside of his workplace.
The final letter left him no choice but to flee and started him on a journey which has seen him separated from his wife and young children for four years.
Headed with the Taliban emblem and signed in the name of Samad, it stated: ‘We had warned you earlier to rectify yourself and stop serving foreigners.
‘It has come to our knowledge that you have started more jobs with them, providing transport services to the staff to/from the base.
‘Therefore the commission has decided to impose a very harsh penalty, that is; you must be killed.
‘In whichever corner of the country you reside, our suicide bombers will find you and kill you, just as they did to the workers of Kandahar base. God willing.’
Molvi Abdus Samad, a Taliban commander, sent this letter to Omid sentencing him to be killed after the brutal group accusing him of spying and working with foreigners
After a gruelling journey across Europe Omid arrived in the UK in 2018 and ended up living Kirkby, Merseyside.
By last month he was suffering from depression and regularly entertaining thoughts of suicide as his legal battles dragged on.
However, on October 14, Omid received a letter via his solicitors confirming he been granted asylum for the next five years.
The ruling also means Omid, who had been unable to work or study due to his status as an asylum seeker, can resume building a life.
He told the Liverpool Echo: ‘This is a very big thing in my life and for my family.
‘Now I can make my plan for the future, I apply for my family to bring them here to be safe from the Taliban.
‘I can also continue to start my level 3 that I am allowed now in college as a car mechanic and start to find work to support my family here.’
Although the future is now looking brighter, Omid had suffered through almost four years of uncertainty.
Mr Sarwary settled in Merseyside where he had fought for his right to remain in the UK with the Home Office for four years before being granted the right to stay
Despite his service for a British company, and despite his bravery in refusing to help the Taliban launch potentially deadly attacks on the airport, he was initially refused asylum by the Home Office in July 2018.
Omid was told that because he only feared return to ‘certain areas of Afghanistan’ it would not be ‘unsafe or unreasonable’ for him to be sent to the capital, Kabul, or another area not in control of the Taliban.
His legal teamed appealed to the First Tier Tribunal for Immigration, but despite the judge accepting his evidence of being threatened by the Taliban and describing him as a ‘credible’ witness, he rejected the appeal for the same reasons in January 2019.
Omid was refused permission to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal and an application to the High Court for a Judicial Review was also denied in January this year.
In a last ditch attempt to avoid being dragged onto a plane and flown back to Afghanistan, his legal team filed further submissions in February this year.
The Taliban swiftly took back control of Afghanistan after the withdrawl of US and UK troops from the country in the Middle East in August this year
In September, before his case was resolved, he told the Liverpool Echo: ‘It is a very hard situation, I cannot even describe. I just sit at home all day and take medication, I have not seen my children and my wife in four years.
‘If it was not for my wife and children, I think I would not be able to live like this.
Omid said his family have moved home several times to escape the Taliban, but when its fighters seized control of the entire country his nightmare grew more intense.
He said: ‘It was horrible to hear [that the Taliban had taken over].
‘I felt like someone kicked me in my stomach, I felt so sick that I could not eat for 24 hours. I was thinking about the safety of my wife, mother, brother and my kids.
A psychological report, commissioned by his legal team, described Omid as feeling ‘constantly anxious and depressed about his life’, struggling to sleep and suffering from panic attacks.
The report stated: ‘Mr Sarwary stated that the loss of his family members has resulted in hopelessness and depression.
‘He said his children were very young when he left Afghanistan and he longs to be able to see them again. He reported a fear of the Taliban harming them and as a result he described limiting communication or contact with them.
‘He said that as far as he is aware, his family had been approached by the Taliban and they had been demanding to know where Mr Sarwary now is.’
The report concluded Omid met the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive disorder with psychosis.
The Independent reported recently how the Home Office had refused a blanket amnesty for 3,000 Afghan asylum seekers who had arrived in the UK before the Taliban takeover.
The department has instead said it would look at each case on ‘its individual merits’.
A spokeswoman said at the time: ‘No one who is at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there and all asylum and human rights claims will be carefully considered on their individual merits.
‘Given the complex situation in Afghanistan, we are urgently updating our guidance reflecting revised assessments of risk of persecution.
‘While this work is ongoing, we have paused decision making to make sure cases are only considered in light of the most up to date information.
‘Separately, the UK’s evacuation operation helped over 15,000 people to safety and are also establishing the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme to help those most at risk.’