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Afghanistan: Coventry shopkeeper fears for his children

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1]

image source, EPA

image captionThousands of people have fled Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of Kabul on 15 August

A shopkeeper stuck in Afghanistan for several weeks said he fears splitting up his family by leaving his grown-up children behind.

Abdullah, not his real name, holds a British passport but said leaving his son and daughter, aged 21 and 22, under Taliban rule was "unimaginable".

He was visiting his family in Kabul when the Taliban seized control and now fears the group will recruit his son.

The Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.

Abdullah fled Afghanistan 20 years ago to Coventry when the Taliban tried to recruit him and he wants to protect his eldest son from a similar fate.

"They wanted to recruit me, they wanted to train me, they wanted to keep me, but as soon as I had my chance, I left the country," he said.

"If they don't take their revenge they will still ask to come and join or [say] 'give us your son - join the forces now, we are the government'.

"There's nobody left. They need people, right now."

image source, Reuters

image captionMembers of the Taliban guard the entrance to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan

He said he can bring his wife and youngest children to the UK, now flights had resumed, but fears for the other two.

"Shall I run from them like a coward... or shall I stay with them and whatever happens - face that?

"The whole family would be broken into two," he said.

Abdullah said he was shocked by the Taliban's rapid takeover of Kabul.

"Within hours things changed," he said. "All the government uniform disappeared, all the government cars disappeared".

He has rarely left the house since. He wants to make his family "safe" and said support from friends in Coventry had given him hope and made him "feel alive again".

"For my two kids I want to get some kind of clearance that I can bring them to the UK. I have my house and I have my business and I can support them and I want to take them with me. I don't want to leave them here," he said.

The Home Office said it was committed to resettling up to 20,000 people under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, including 5,000 in its first year.

A spokeswoman added this was in addition to resettling thousands of Afghans who worked with the UK government.

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