NHS worker who moved to Afghanistan to build hospital ‘left for dead’

The radiographer has accused the government of leaving his family for dead

A British NHS worker is at the mercy of the Taliban after being left behind in Afghanistan, Metro.co.uk can reveal.

Hamza* claims there is a direct threat to his life because his brother was a top police chief for the now-toppled Afghan government. 

The 28-year-old, from Birmingham, was living with his brother in Kabul and building a hospital when the Taliban rapidly regained control of the country. 

His brother feared reprisal and fled as Hamza vowed to look after his sister-in-law and one-year-old niece. 

The radiographer, who met his wife in Afghanistan, tried every day to get them on a UK evacuation flight last month, but said it was ‘impossible’ to get through the crowds at Kabul airport safely with a baby. 

He is now hiding with his wife, sister-in-law and niece after the Taliban raided his brother’s home during door-to-door manhunts to find those who worked against them. 

Hamza was building a hospital in Kabul when the Taliban rapily took over the country

Copies of their documents were at the property, meaning the militants could be looking for them in a bid to find his brother.

Hamza told Metro.co.uk: ‘There’s a direct threat to my life, every minute could be my last. 

‘When we tried to get to the Baron Hotel [to be evacuated] the Taliban raided my brother’s house and took everything, we can’t go back there. 

‘The Taliban are looking for people who have worked with the previous government.

‘My brother was a very active police officer. Since 2010 he has been at the front line fighting against extremism and terrorism.

‘He worked with the UK, with the British Army and US Army and he arrested many Taliban and ISIS members, he must have killed some as well. 

‘There is no way they will leave him alone, or his family, because that is what they do. 

‘They see anyone who has worked with foreigners as sinners, and they will see me as a sinner because I didn’t try to stop my brother.’

His brother fought against extremists with the army for the last 10 years, and is now on the run

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The last UK flight left Afghanistan on August 28, amid heavy criticism that hundreds of British citizens and over 1,000 local allies were left behind.

The rapid takeover by the Taliban sparked scenes of chaos as thousands of desperate people attempted to flee via Kabul airport, with harrowing footage showing mothers trying to pass babies to soldiers over barbed wire fences in a bid to give them a better life. 

Hamza feared his niece would be crushed to death if they attempted to push through a swarm of around 4,000 people. 

Instead he contacted the British embassy to see if they could arrange a car to take them safely to the airport, claiming he witnessed other countries do that. 

However he claims he was turned away ‘more than once’ after explaining his situation to both officials in London and British soldiers at the gate. 

He now fears being one of many ‘who may not see another day, if there is no care for a regular human’. 

Hamza has not heard from his brother since the fall of Kabul, and fears the Taliban will torture him in a bid to find him

Since the withdrawal of foreign troops, 34 British Nationals have managed to leave Afghanistan on two flights to Doha facilitated by the Qatari authorities.

The UK Foreign Office said it is hopeful more flights will be able to operate depending on the security situation.

However, Hamza fears his wife, sister-in-law and baby niece won’t be able to join him as they don’t have the right paperwork to leave.

It is understood that this condition has been imposed by the Qatari government.

Hamza, who has not heard from his brother since the fall of Kabul, said he would not abandon his family as he begged the UK Home Office to issue an emergency visa.

‘There is no way I can leave them behind,’ he said. 

’They have no family here, they are my direct dependents. 

‘Being a woman in Afghanistan is dangerous anyway, but it is especially dangerous to be the wife of a police officer.

‘We will either starve as the banks are closed or be caught and killed. They have just abandoned us for this simple condition.’

Hamza, from Birmingham, is desperate to get home with his wife, sister-in-law and niece

The government insisted they are doing ‘everything they can’ to help Hamza, though refused to comment on whether visas could be granted to his female relatives.

While the UK managed to airlift around 15,000 people out of Afghanistan in the two weeks after the Taliban takeover, options for those trapped and fearing for their lives remain limited.

A scheme to take in 20,000 refugees long-term, including 5,000 this year, is still not open.

Afghans who worked with the British government can apply for resettlement through the ARAP scheme, but it is not clear what safe passages are being created for them and if relatives of missing allies who find themselves in danger will be eligible.

Hamza said getting on a commercial flight to a neighbouring country such as Pakistan would not be an option as the Taliban would likely stop them from leaving due to his brother’s high-profile.

He fears time is running out amid warnings from the UN that the fighters are hunting for western collaborators and threatening to harm or kill their family members if they do not give themselves in. 

The UN said that those at particular risk were people with positions in the military, police and investigative units of the Afghan security forces.

Speaking at the Human Rights Council on Monday, UN representative Michelle Bachelet cast further doubt on Taliban assurances that they will not ‘hold grudges’, saying she has seen ‘credible reports’ that fighters are searching house-to-house to track down anyone who helped the former government or US.

‘Officials who worked for previous administrations and their family members [are] being arbitrarily detained,’ she said. ‘In some cases, the officials were released, and in others, they were found dead.’ 

Hamza has been moving around with his family every few days in a bid to avoid the Taliban’s clutches, but says informants are everywhere and they could be found any minute. 

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People gather to withdraw money from a bank in Kabul, Afghanistan as it teeters on the edge of economic collapse (Picture: EPA)

He begged the UK government to show some compassion, questioning how Pen Farthing was able to get a truck load of animals out of the country while women and children were left behind.

The former Birmingham University student said he did not move to Afghanistan ‘for fun’ and wanted to set up a hospital after his mother died of breast cancer.  

‘I wanted to make a cancer centre that would help Afghans in poverty and all other classes. 

‘I quit my job to create access to healthcare they couldn’t afford, so children and parents didn’t have to lose loved ones helplessly.

‘I lost my mother to this disease and the NHS took care of her and I intended to do the same for other mothers out there in Afghanistan.’  

Now, cancer is ‘no longer the biggest threat’ as the country teeters on the brink of economic collapse and millions face starvation. 

Fighting has continued in the rebel stronghold Panjshir valley (Picture: Getty)
Local residents take part in a protest march against a reported announcement by the Taliban, asking them to evict their homes built on state-owned land in Kandahar (Picture: Getty)

There are also fears the country will descend into civil war once again and that women and girls will be stripped of their rights.

Hamza said: ‘No one can understand what is going on in Afghanistan. No news report or media can cover the raw emotions, the tragedy. 

’We witnessed with our eyes other countries evacuation methods which surpassed the UK. 

‘Now there are terror attacks and we have been told to go home with a reassuring link to travel advice. 

‘I ask the UK Embassy, what home? Where do you want us to go? The terror attacks are only another risk however we are forever imprisoned by the Taliban.

‘We have no home. Our families have no value of life. 

‘The truth is we have been abandoned and I only ask, what would you do?

‘How would you feel being left for dead, where animals are valued more than children, where is the humanity?’

A UK Government spokesperson said: ‘We have evacuated over 15,000 people, including almost 7,000 British nationals and their families since mid-August. 

‘The UK and international partners are committed to ensuring that our citizens and Afghans who have worked with us can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan.

‘We have been in touch with this individual a number of times over the last fortnight and will continue to do all we can to support him.’

Metro.co.uk has changed Hamza’s real name to protect his identity.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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