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Afghan interpreter hails ‘unsung’ British troops for getting him and his family out of Kabul

An Afghan interpreter who worked for the British Army has paid tribute to the British troops who helped to get him and his family out of Kabul.

Burhan Vesal, arrived at London‘s Heathrow Airport today following a two-night journey from the Afghan capital. 

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Mr Vesal, 34, said British soldiers who have worked in horrendous circumstances to process potential evacuees amid desperate crowds at the airport in Kabul ‘don’t get enough praise’.

He added that his journey out of Afghanistan with his wife and son, aged six, was like going ‘from dark to light’.

Mr Vesal, who worked as a ‘battlefield interpreter’ for British forces, including Gurkha troops, had to wait for four months to be relocated.

An Afghan former interpreter for the British Army has paid tribute to the British troops who helped to get him and his family out of Kabul. Burhan Vesal, arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport today following a two-night journey from the Afghan capital. Above: Mr Vesal with his wife Narcis, 29, and son Sepehr shortly after arriving at Heathrow

Mr Vesal, who worked as a 'battlefield interpreter' for British forces, including Gurkha troops, had to wait for four months to be relocated

Mr Vesal, who worked as a ‘battlefield interpreter’ for British forces, including Gurkha troops, had to wait for four months to be relocated

He was only given his date to fly on Monday, when thousands of desperate people were already surrounding the airport perimeter in the hope of getting on a flight. 

The interpreter spoke from Heathrow after his plane stopped off in Dubai.

He said the British troops who helped him were doing the ‘hardest job that there is to do in Afghanistan’ because they were surrounded by huge crowds of people who were ‘not eligible to fly’.

Mr Vesal added that the soldiers also asked if they were hungry or thirsty. ‘They don’t get enough praise for the work they do,’ he said.

‘We are so grateful to them and to everyone else from the UK who has allowed us to be here in freedom.’    

Mr Vesal will now spend 10 days in quarantine in a hotel with his wife Narcis, 29, and son Sepehr.

Mr Vesal, 34, said British soldiers who have worked in horrendous circumstances to process potential evacuees amid desperate crowds at the airport in Kabul 'don't get enough praise'

Mr Vesal, 34, said British soldiers who have worked in horrendous circumstances to process potential evacuees amid desperate crowds at the airport in Kabul ‘don’t get enough praise’

He added that his journey out of Afghanistan with his wife and son was like going 'from dark to light'

He added that his journey out of Afghanistan with his wife and son was like going ‘from dark to light’

While still in Afghanistan, Mr Vesal witnessed the murder of a friend who had also worked for Western forces. 

He also spent days in hiding away from his family before rejoining them after nightfall.

The interpreter is almost certain to be among the final groups of Afghans and Westerners to be flown out of Kabul before the end of the month – when British troops are set to leave with US forces.

The Taliban has warned that an extension to the deadline will not be granted and US President Joe Biden has ‘point blank’ refused G7 calls to push back the exit date for US forces.

The UK now has to wrap up its evacuation mission within 24 to 36 hours, meaning time is running out for the remaining 2,000 Afghan interpreters still in the country to escape with British troops. 

Mr Vesal (pictured above during his time working for Western forces said the British troops who helped him were doing the 'hardest job that there is to do in Afghanistan' because they were surrounded by huge crowds of people who were 'not eligible to fly'

Mr Vesal (pictured above during his time working for Western forces said the British troops who helped him were doing the ‘hardest job that there is to do in Afghanistan’ because they were surrounded by huge crowds of people who were ‘not eligible to fly’

The interpreter spoke from Heathrow after his plane stopped off in Dubai. Above: his son sleeps at Heathrow after the journey

The interpreter spoke from Heathrow after his plane stopped off in Dubai. Above: his son sleeps at Heathrow after the journey 

Almost all single-nationality Britons are now out of the country. 

Some 19,000 people were extracted from Kabul yesterday, taking the overall number since the operation began to 88,000, with the UK having brought more than 10,000 individuals – including more than 5,500 Afghans and their families.      

Yesterday, Afghan interpreters held a protest to plead for ‘humanity’ from the British Government to help evacuate their families from Afghanistan before the August 31 deadline.

Some 40 protesters gathered outside of the Home Office in central London on Monday to urge ministers not to ‘leave anyone behind’ ahead of the Kabul evacuation deadline, when US troops are set to withdraw.

The demonstrators held placards saying the Government had a ‘moral obligation’ to protect Afghan allies, while others held photos showing graphic images of deaths across 20 years of conflict with the Taliban. 


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