Translator who was 'denied refuge in Britain' executed in Afghanistan

Members of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment searching around Char Coucha village in Helmand, Afghanistan
Popal, who was wounded in the Helmand province while serving with the Parachute Regiment, pictured  Photo: MoD
James  Rothwell

An Afghan military interpreter who was denied refuge by the UK has been executed after a failed attempt to flee the Taliban, according to reports.

"Popal", as he was known to the British soldiers who served with him, was tortured and murdered after he was captured in Iran, it was claimed.

He is among four other interpreters feared to have suffered the same fate after they hired smugglers to help them escape to the West, the Daily Mail reported.

"Anyone they find who has worked for Britain or allied forces is tortured and killed, the smugglers have told us, because they are seen as Western spies," a source who served alongside Popal told the newspaper.

"The smugglers warn us before we begin the journey that there is a good chance we will be captured and that if that happens, 'you are on your own," they added.

"Some Afghans who were stopped making the journey to Europe have been enrolled in the Iranian military and sent to fight in Syria. Others have been brutally questioned. If you say you have worked for the British or the Americans then it is likely you will be killed."

Popal, who was wounded in the Helmand province while serving with the Parachute Regiment, is understood to have fled the Afghan capital of Kabul after a series of death threats from Taliban agents.

His brother told the Daily Mail he was killed in his home city of Kandahar in retribution for his work with UK forces.

"It was a last resort but the decision is simple. If he stayed, he knew he would be hunted down. If he went, he would at least have a chance of an honest life not wondering who is behind him all the time.

"It is disgusting the British let him down after he risked his life to help them, and to save their lives, now he has lost his own."

Popal paid around £6,500 for the doomed journey and his body was returned to Kandahar last week.

It comes as a former SAS interpreter who worked for Gordon Brown during a visit to Afghanistan claimed he was poised to pay smugglers a similar sum for a journey along the same route, accusing Britain of "abandoning him."

The translator, known as Chris, wrote to both Downing Street and the Border Agency amid fears for his life, but letters to both departments went unanswered, according to the Daily Mail.

A Home Office spokesman said it could not comment on individual cases.

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Source : telegraph[dot]co[dot]uk
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