'Monumentally daft' student who went to Afghanistan on holiday 'evacuated' from Kabul

17 August 2021, 12:57 | Updated: 17 August 2021, 13:00

Miles Routledge documented his trip on a number of social media platforms
Miles Routledge documented his trip on a number of social media platforms. Picture: Twitch: milesroutledge1999

By Daisy Stephens

A British student who was on holiday in Afghanistan when the Taliban took control says he has now been "evacuated".

Miles Routledge, a final year physics student at Loughborough University, said he went to Afghanistan for the "adventure" before becoming trapped when the Taliban took control of the capital.

He has said he has now been rescued, although he is awaiting a flight home from Dubai.

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"Got 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," he wrote on Facebook.

"The Taliban let us go through the airport and we met many of them, 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 documented his journey on 4chan and streaming website Twitch.

Whilst he appears relatively cheerful in the videos, in one, titled 'Stuck in Afghanistan, the story' he said: "They [the Taliban] don’t like foreigners. I’ve have a few people come up to me with knives in their pockets."

He added: "I kind of just thought 'oh, I’m going to be killed by the Taliban'."

He admitted certain parts of the Taliban regime would "not be nice" for women, saying he "felt sorry for them".

"It’s been a long day," he said at the end, adding: "I genuinely thought I was going to die."

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He said he even had a Facebook post on his meme page pre-written and scheduled in case of his death, reading: "Unfortunately if this has been posted I’m dead or beyond rescue, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and something has not gone to plan resulting in this situation."

He added that if something happened it was "completely my fault", saying: "There was no convincing me otherwise and I knew the risks, it was a gamble I took that went wrong despite my confidence and jokes."

Mr Routledge, from Birmingham, booked his trip in May and travelled to Afghanistan on Friday 13 August.

Speaking to Input Magazine, he described realising something was wrong when there were hundreds of people trying to get money out of a cash point on Sunday morning.

When people started firing guns into the air to calm the panic, Mr Routledge purchased a burqa and tried to get to a range of embassies and then Kabul airport, eventually being helped out by locals.

According to a post on 4chan he was questioned by Taliban militants on his way to the airport, but Mr Routledge claims he was let go because he said he was from Wales and the fighters did not know where that was.

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A UK Foreign Office official, speaking to Input Magazine, condemned Mr Routledge’s actions, saying: "We spend so much time and hard work getting people out of these places. Why on Earth would someone do something so monumentally daft?"

But Mr Routledge says he does not regret his trip, even though he claims it could be several more weeks until he is able to travel home, saying he "helped a lot of people along the way".