'We don't trust the Taliban': Former Afghan translators protest at Parliament Square

18 August 2021, 16:28 | Updated: 18 August 2021, 20:41

By Sophie Barnett

Dozens of Afghan translators who served with the British Army are holding a protest at Parliament Square as they plead with the government to protect their loved ones who are trying to flee the Taliban.

The protesters held banners and signs up in front of Parliament on Wednesday as MPs returned to the House of Commons after it was recalled.

Signs among the sea of people read "we do not trust the Taliban" and "free Afghans", with others showing images of people gravely injured in Afghanistan with the caption "save our loved ones".

The protest comes after the Taliban took control of the capital city, Kabul, on Sunday, following days of of rapid gains.

Read more: Taliban declares 'amnesty' and says it will 'respect women's rights' in Afghanistan

Attention has now turned to the mass evacuation at Hamid Karzai International airport and whether human rights - particularly women's - will be respected by the new regime.

The Taliban has insisted they will enjoy rights under Islamic rules, but there are fears a strict version of sharia law will be imposed upon them.

Wahid Ullah, who has served as a translator for the British Army for more than six years, told LBC "everything is over".

He said: "We are sad, my family is at risk, everyone is in a big danger now."

Mr Ullah came to the UK through a resettlement scheme six years ago and lives in Coventry.

The protesters held banners and signs up in front of Parliament on Wednesday
The protesters held banners and signs up in front of Parliament on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

He said: "The government has helped us for 20 years - that's almost two decades - and now if we are going to just leave everything behind and think everything is done, I think it's not something to do. There is risk for families."

"The Taliban are those people who the international community have fought for 20 years. Imagine, 450 lives gone.

"Everyone has lost their loved ones, I've lost my family members, my people, and now we have lost our country. We've lost our identity.

"And now we have lost our hope. What is going to happen tomorrow? No one knows."

Afghans stage a protest outside British parliament asking international community not to recognise the Taliban.
Afghans stage a protest outside British parliament asking international community not to recognise the Taliban. Picture: Alamy

One former interpreter, who only gave his name as Rafi, told the PA news agency: "Today we are representing all those employees of the British Government in Afghanistan who have served the British forces.

"Today, their lives are at a very high risk, them and their families, and our families, they need protection and safety.

"The Taliban will butcher every single one of them if they are left behind.

"The Afghan nation feels betrayed and let down. They deserved better. The Americans took the rug from under our feet and left the nation with no protection, no safety and under the control of the same terrorists that we started fighting 20 years ago."