Linda Norgrove Foundation's staff stuck in Kabul facing 'incessant gunfire'

Staff have made several failed attempts to get out of Kabul

A Scottish Afghan charity is still working to extricate its staff from Kabul.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation said its staff have been forced to return to their homes after a “relentless 46 hours” facing gunfire at the city’s airport.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday that diplomatic staff were dealing with the hundreds of cases of people left behind following the two-week airlift.

The US completed its evacuation mission from Kabul's airport late on Monday, bringing to an abrupt end its two-decade military intervention in Afghanistan and leaving the country once more in the hands of the Taliban.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation was set up in memory of a Scots aid worker who was killed after being kidnapped by the Taliban.

Ms Norgrove’s parents, John and Lorna, established the charity as a way of continuing their daughter’s work after she died in an attempted rescue by US forces in 2010.

The foundation previously said it has two staff, sisters aged 25 and 29, who were “holed up in their flat in Kabul” after the Taliban seized control of the city.

In a statement on Twitter, it said evacuation attempts had so far failed.

“After a relentless 46 hours at the airport entrance, either in a bus or a panicky crowd, with incessant gunfire and the constant, real threat of a terrorist bomb, our staff and their family returned home safely”, it said.

Earlier, the charity said the family members of staff that it had tried to evacuate included a 9-month-old baby.

The staff and their families were “just inches away” from evacuation, it said, but efforts were in vain.

It said it would not be giving up its support for women and children in Afghanistan and that it hoped the government would be able to arrange evacuation over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a former English language teacher stranded in Afghanistan said he regrets working with the UK mission in the country because of the grave danger he now faces.

The unnamed teacher said he has been targeted by the Taliban because his face is on billboards in Afghanistan advertising English classes.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I regret working with the English. I regret helping people learn English. Why did I work for people who left me and fled and left me alone here? My background is hurting me nowadays.

“They are looking for me because I’ve got pictures in billboards advertised for classes. Also, I worked for the British Council. I worked for the UK for the past eight or nine years.”

The teacher said he tried to flee Afghanistan shortly after the Taliban took over, but found no way to escape.

He said he applied for the UK’s evacuation scheme but had received “no reply”. He said he was able to obtain a Pakistan visa but had been unable to leave safely.

“Last night was the worst,” he said. “It was, the whole night, guns while you’re sleeping. It damages your mind. My fate will be the same, like others.”

Updated: August 31st 2021, 12:39 PM
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