British Army interpreter rescues brother shot by the Taliban

UK previously ruled disabled relative was not eligible, family says

Jamal Barak during his time with the British Army. Photo: Jamal Barak

The brother of a British Army interpreter who was left disabled after being repeatedly shot by the Taliban has been rescued from Afghanistan.

Jamal Barak successfully petitioned the UK government to allow his parents and younger brothers to be evacuated from Afghanistan but his older brother Mahmood, 20, was refused because of his age. He went into hiding.

Now, the family have been told Mahmood could be brought to the UK within days.

Jamal Barak with his family outside the Ramada hotel in Coventry. Photo: Jamal Barak

“My older brother was left disabled by the Taliban after being shot,” Mr Barak told The National.

“He was refused entry to come to the UK during the evacuation, but now I have been told he will be eligible and allowed to come.

“The UK has approved the form for him to come and he is in Pakistan under British care waiting for his visa.

“We hope he will be in the UK in the next couple of days.”

In August, Jamal Barak, a former military interpreter who now lives in England, had pleaded with the UK authorities to help his father, Shista Gul, and family to leave Afghanistan over fears he would be killed.

Mr Gul had to go into hiding when the Taliban took control of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, where he lived with his wife and five other sons.

He worked in a military compound in Helmand province for seven years as a gardener for the British Army, but the British government had refused him permission to be relocated to the UK.

Jamal Barak during his time serving with the British Army. Photo: Jamal Barak

Mr Barak's brother, Mahmood, who was left disabled two years ago after being shot 14 times by the Taliban, was left behind because he is over 18, according to the family.

Mr Barak told The National he was heartbroken at leaving him behind as the rest of his family came to join him in the UK.

"When my parents told him they were leaving, his face dropped and he started crying," Mr Barak said.

"When I spoke to him, he begged me to help him get out, the Taliban have been harassing him and he has been so scared.”

The family are presently settling in well in England, Mr Barak said, and are looking forward to being reunited with Mahmood and starting their new life together.

All my family and everybody is OK,” Mr Barak said.

“My mum and dad and little brothers are still in a hotel near Manchester, they have not got a house yet but they are happy. We are just so thankful that my brother will be joining us soon.”

Mr Barak came to the UK under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme, because of his work as an interpreter with the British Army for eight years.

He was shot twice by the Taliban while working on missions and entering Taliban-held provinces with British troops.

His father's application for the Arap scheme was previously refused on the grounds he did not fit the criteria, because a gardener was not classed as a priority role.

His father received several commendations from the British Army during his service.

One was a certificate of appreciation in which Mr Gul was thanked for his “excellent duties”, another praised him for his “outstanding horticultural support".

Updated: December 23rd 2021, 11:30 AM