Afghanistan: UK aiming to evacuate British nationals by 31 August 2021
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But a friend of Miles Routledge has suggested whatever his whereabouts, he was not equipped for life in the war-torn nation, explaining: “He’s definitely not a fighter.” Frantic efforts were underway by Government officials to track down the 21-year-old student after he alleged he has been left stranded in the country after travelling there in an apparent instance of danger tourism earlier this month.
Mr Routledge travelled to Kabul on August 13 after Googling “most dangerous countries to visit”.
However, with the Taliban capturing huge swathes of the mountainous nation in the face of the US pullout of troops, and flights grounded, he suggested he was “stuck” and “in a bit of a pickle”.
Last night on Facebook, alongside a smiling picture of him clad in army gear, Mr Routledge posted: “Evacuated at 4ish (it’s 2am now) with 100 or so other civilians.
“Couldn’t message as there were cars emitting signals that would set off bombs.
“It blocked my airpods from connecting so I think it blocked all wifi/data.
“The Taliban let us go through the airport and we met many of them.”
He added: “Very long transition period but everyone was smiling and waving at one another, some took selfies with them.
“I slept on a dirt/gravel road and woke up as cars went by.
“We’re in a new safe house and we’re all hydrated, happy and ready for a few hours of sleep.
Mr Routledge did not specify where the “safe house” was.
His mother Susan, who lives in the affluent Birmingham suburb of Sutton Coldfield, told Sun Online she was anxiously awaiting news of his whereabouts.
His friend insisted: “Miles is definitely in Afghanistan – 100 per cent. He’s genuinely there. People might think it’s an elaborate hoax but it’s true.
He couldn’t handle himself against a uni student – let alone the Taliban
Friend of Miles Routledge
“This is a joke that’s just gone way out of hand. He wanted to come back in September with a story to tell about how he went to Kabul.”
He added: “The madness and the danger doesn’t appear to have crossed his mind.
“He posted on Reddit saying he’d bought a knife to protect himself. He said, ‘If I go down, I want to go down guns blazing’. It’s ridiculous.
“He’s definitely not a fighter. He couldn’t handle himself against a uni student – let alone the Taliban.”
Mr Routledge, a physics student studying at Loughborough University, previously claimed the British Embassy in the Afghan capital had failed to respond to his emails.
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However, an FDCO spokesman appeared to dispute his version of events.
They said: “We are aware of this case and are attempting to reach the individual to offer assistance.
“We are working hard to contact all the British nationals we are aware of who remain in Afghanistan, to help them leave the country.”
The UK Government has advised against all but essential travel to Afghanistan for more than two decades.
The spokesman added: “The safety of British nationals is our top priority which is why we have been urging British nationals to leave Afghanistan by commercial means since April 21.
“On August 6 we updated our advice to urge British nationals to leave immediately and to update us on their plans for departure.”
Explaining his decision previously on livestreaming website Twitch, he said: “This trip has been a test of God. I’m very religious so I believe I’ll be looked after.”
“Before I left I wrote a letter to my friends saying that if I died, not to feel guilty, that I would die happy and religious and proud.”
However, he was less positive in a message on his Facebook page, posting: “I just wanted this whole thing to be a little charity thing where I can explore a weird country but I’ve mentally broken down.
“I’m not sure what’s going on right now, my face in the mirror doesn’t look right.”
US forces took charge of the airport, their only way to fly out of the country, on Sunday, as the militants were winding up a dramatic week of advances across the country with their takeover of the capital without a fight.
In chaotic scenes yesterday, thousands of Afghans crowded the airport terminal in a bid to board a US military plane, with at least two of them reportedly falling with to their deaths after take-off, having clung to the undercarriage.
Two other armed men were reportedly shot dead by US soldiers.
Military flights evacuating diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan resumed early today after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared.
During a press conference last night, US President Joe Biden insisted he had to decide between asking US forces to fight endlessly in what he called Afghanistan’s civil war or following through on an agreement to withdraw negotiated by predecessor, Republican Donald Trump.
He added: “I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces. That’s why we’re still there.”
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