British troops helped last Afghan evacuee climb fence into airport

The last Afghan evacuee saved by British troops: Paras helped interpreter climb over fence in final mission launched by MoD officials angry that Pen Farthing’s pets had been saved while people remained stranded

  • Sayed, 32, worked with UK personnel for three years as an Afghan interpreter  
  • Despite this, he was forced to turn back from Kabul airport earlier this week
  • He spoke of the pain of not having his name called at the airport to be evacuated
  • In that time, Pen Farthing successfully pressured officials into allowing a charter plane to carry him and around 180 rescue cats and dogs out of the country
  • Frustrated officials at the Ministry of Defence took up Sayed’s case this week
  • On Friday he received a call to return to the airport and he, his wife, three-year-old son and three-month-old baby were helped over a fence by British troops 

British troops helped the last Afghan evacuee climb over a barbed wire fence into Kabul airport, it has been revealed today. 

The rescue of Sayed – along with his wife, their three-month-old baby and three-year-old son – came as officials complained Pen Farthing’s pets had been saved while interpreters remained stranded.

Sayed, a 32-year-old interpreter who was blown up while working for the UK in 2011, became the last person who served along-side British forces to be allowed inside Kabul airport and processed for a flight to the UK, The Sunday Times reported.

The rescue of Sayed and his family was ordered by senior figures inside the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after the gates to the airport were closed to new arrivals.

Before his escape, the Afghan father had spent more than four days trying to find a way to the airport’s Abbey Gate where British troops were clearing those who were eligible for sanctuary in the UK.

Despite being part of the crowd ordered to leave by the Taliban, who now control Kabul and most of Afghanistan following their take-over this month, Sayed told the newspaper that he stood his ground refusing to give up hope.

Pictured: Members of the British and US military engage in the evacuation of people out of Kabul, Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting, that has now drawn to a close. British troops helped the last Afghan evacuee climb over a barbed wire fence into Kabul airport, it has been revealed today

The interpreter stood in the baking sun for hours wading through sewage, all while holding his young daughter, but after reaching the correct gate he was not called forward.

After Thursday evening’s suicide bombing that killed an estimated 170 people, he and his family were forced to give up hope and return to their home.

Speaking earlier this week, Sayed had said that it hurt that his name was not called at the gate after working for Britain as an interpreter.

‘I always put my life in danger to save British troops because we were living as brothers,’ he said, according to The Sunday Times. ‘But now that we need them the most, no one will hear us.’

During the time in which Sayed was trying to escape the capital via the airport, former British Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing’s campaign to put pressure on officials to allow him to fly to Britain with over 180 rescue animals succeeded.

While gaining huge support, the campaign led by the founder of the Nowzad animal shelter was also accused of taking up resources that could have been used to evacuate more people from Kabul.

MoD officials – frustrated that Mr Farthing’s animals were being saved while Afghans loyal to Britain were set to be left behind – picked up Sayed’s case.

Despite the gates to the airport officially being closed to prepare for the final evacuation flights from Kabul, British troops were ordered to find him.

During the time in which Sayed was trying to escape the capital via the airport, former British Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing’s campaign to put pressure on officials to allow him to fly to Britain with over 180 rescue animals succeeded. Pictured: Pen Farthing with a rescue dog, 2013

On Friday night, Sayed received a call from a British interpreter to take a taxi to the airport and once again go to the gate.

He said he had to walk 30 minutes after the taxi ride to reach the gate, where he found that there was another large crowd.

Sayed was once again called by the interpreter, who told him to leave the crowd and signalled him with a light.

‘When I reached the light the British forces took me and my family over the barbed wire. It was amazing, I am happy now,’ he told The Sunday Times. ‘I thank everyone who worked hard for my family.’ 

Sayed worked with UK forces for three years. He was given permission to come to the UK months ago, but his baby was born before the flight meaning officials required more paperwork. 

As the Taliban swept across the country and seized Kabul, the family’s passports were with the British embassy, leading to further delays.

But after a 100-hour battle to get him out of the capital before it became impossible, Sayed and his family are on their way to start a new life in the UK. 

In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel climb onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, August 28, 2021

Pictured: British soldiers secure the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, August 26, 2021

Afghan woman gives birth on evacuation flight to UK

By Glen Owen for the Mail on Sunday 

Cradles in a red airline blanket, this little girl was born at 33,000ft while on an evacuation flight to the UK yesterday.

Her Afghan mother, Soman Noori, was on the flight from Dubai to Birmingham – having previously left Kabul – when she went into labour.

There was no doctor on board, forcing the Turkish Airlines cabin crew to deliver the baby girl in airspace over Kuwait. She has been named Havva, which translates to Eve in English.

Havva is the third child of Ms Noori, 26, and her 30-year-old husband, Taj Moh Hammat. Turkish Airlines said mother and baby were healthy, and although the plane landed in Kuwait as a precaution, it continued on its route to Birmingham and landed at 11.45am.

Video footage shows Havva sleeping in her mother’s arms before being cooed over by cabin crew.

Ms Noori is not the first woman to give birth while fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban returned to power.

An unnamed woman gave birth last week on a US military plane that had just landed in Germany. She named her Reach, after the aircraft’s call sign.

Pictured: Air crew hold baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham

Meanwhile, it was announced on Saturday by his spokesman that Pen Farthing had taken off from Kabul airport and was on his way home with his dogs and cats on a private charter plane.

The jet landed at the Afghan capital’s airport earlier today and was loaded up with rescue animals, owned by the former Royal Marine, by British troops.

But Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing’s ‘Operation Ark’ campaign, that petitioned the British government to get his staff and animals out of Kabul, has divided public opinion. 

It was revealed yesterday that as many as 150 Britons and 1,100 Afghans that assisted British efforts in Afghanistan will be left behind in the country, while the charter plane flies 180 cats and dogs to safety.  

The 57-year-old’s chartered jet from Karachi, Pakistan, landed at around 6pm local time, after the last UK flight dedicated for civilians left last night and all further flights today are for military and diplomatic personnel.  

A Tory MP Tom Tugendhat criticised the decision to use soldiers to evacuate Mr Farthing’s animals while the lives of Afghans who assisted the British during the 20-year occupation of the country are under threat from the Taliban.

‘The difficulty is getting people into and out of the airport and we’ve just used a lot of troops to get in 200 dogs,’ the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said.

‘Meanwhile my interpreter’s family are likely to be killed,’ Tugendhat – who served in Afghanistan and Iraq – added. ‘As one interpreter asked me a few days ago, why is my five year-old worth less than your dog?’

When asked what his answer was to his interpreter’s question, Tugendhat replied: ‘I didn’t have an answer, what would your answer be?’

The MP’s comments came as Major General Nick Carter, the head of the British Army, told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme that the army’s ‘priority has been to evacuate human beings,’ amid anger over the decision to evacuate animals. 

‘We obviously worry about everything that needs to be evacuated, but of course these are very difficult times, and there are very difficult judgements to be made.’ 

It was announced on Saturday by his spokesman that Pen Farthing had taken off from Kabul airport and was on his way home with his dogs and cats on a private charter plane

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