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Prince William tells of ‘frustration’ at failure to rescue more Afghans after Kabul withdrawal

Prince William tells of ‘frustration’ at failure to rescue more Afghans after Kabul withdrawal and tells refugees they ‘couldn’t be more welcome’ in Britain

  • Prince William told ‘frustration’ UK failed to get more people out of Afghanistan
  • As the Taliban took charge of the country British forces saved 15,000 people 
  • Thousands were left behind, including interpreters who worked with UK troops


Prince William has told of his ‘frustration’ that the UK evacuation mission in Afghanistan failed to get more people to safety.

The Duke of Cambridge is said to have voiced his concern that so many desperate Afghans were left behind as he met refugees who were flown out by Western forcesf last year.

A total of 15,000 people were airlifted to safety by British forces as the Taliban grabbed control of the country – but thousands of others were left behind.

They included hundreds of interpreters who worked with UK troops and had been given leave to come to Britain or were in the process of applying when the Afghan government fell in August.

The duke told refugees during a visit to a hotel in Leeds in November they ‘couldn’t be more welcome’ in Britain, adding: ‘The most important thing is that you are safe now. You have a bright future’

Prince William talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds

Prince William talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds

One of the refugees who met William at a hotel in Leeds told The Times last night: ‘He said he was frustrated at the withdrawal effort in August. He said he wished we could have brought more people to the UK.’

He is also said to have questioned why around 12,000 Afghans remain stuck in hotels months after arriving.

The duke told the refugees they ‘couldn’t be more welcome’ in Britain, adding: ‘The most important thing is that you are safe now. You have a bright future.’

William was reported last year to have intervened to help an Afghan officer he knew from Sandhurst military academy escape from Kabul with his family.

He was said to have asked his equerry to make calls in order to get the former cadet to safety. The officer was said to have been waved through along with his family and flew to the UK.

He had worked closely with British troops, meaning he was at particular risk from the Taliban.

Among those still left behind is former translator Fazal, 31, who survived being shot and stabbed by the Taliban and has now appealed to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for the New Year gift of ‘safety’. He fled Afghanistan with the help of people smugglers last month, arriving in Turkey, after the Taliban raided his family home and warned he would be ‘punished as a traitor’.

Fazal, who served alongside British troops for two years, was lured into an ambush, shot and stabbed in Kabul 14 months ago.

He has now made a video appeal to former soldier Mr Wallace, who many former translators credit with helping to save their lives after changing policy allowing more to relocate.

Clutching his hands together as if in prayer, Fazal tells him: ‘I am personally appealing to you to allow me to come to the UK and requesting you give me a peaceful future – this is in your hands.

‘According to the local Afghan people and the Taliban, the ones who supported the foreigners should be killed.’

Speaking yesterday from hiding in Istanbul, he told the Mail: ‘I am desperate and frightened because if I am found in Turkey I will be sent back and have to face the Taliban who have already tried to murder me. 

‘My life is at risk because of my work with British forces. Britain helps refugees who have done nothing for the country but they leave at risk those who stood beside them against an enemy that now rules Afghanistan. Please do not abandon us.’

Former Afghan translator Fazal, who claims to have been shot and stabbed by the Taliban. He has appealed to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace from hiding in Turkey where he faces deportation after escaping Taliban with help of people smugglers

Former Afghan translator Fazal, who claims to have been shot and stabbed by the Taliban. He has appealed to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace from hiding in Turkey where he faces deportation after escaping Taliban with help of people smugglers

Fazal worked with the UK’s Electronic Warfare And Signals Intelligence Unit based in Helmand between 2010 and 2012.

He said he was sacked in November 2012 after allegations he had used drugs and breached military discipline – which he has always denied. The Daily Mail’s award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign has highlighted how 1,010 translators were dismissed up until 2014 – more than a third of all those employed – with many claiming to have been treated unjustly. This meant they did not qualify for sanctuary under any of the UK’s relocation plans.

However, in the turmoil of Kabul last summer, Mr Wallace intervened in over 50 cases allowing them to relocate with families.

The video was sent to Mr Wallace by Rafi Hottak, a former supervisor of UK military translators in Afghanistan who now campaigns for ex-interpreters from his UK home. He said: ‘You can hear the desperation of Fazal in the message to Ben Wallace. He is marked out by the Taliban because of his work for the British military and should be helped.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk