British expat missing in Afghanistan after reports of arrest by Taliban

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A British national is missing in Afghanistan after reports of being arrested by the Taliban in a security clampdown in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where has been working as a security consultant.

Grant Bailey is believed to have returned to Kabul in September shortly after the Taliban took over and the US and UK forces withdrew amid chaotic scenes at Kabul airport.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office could not confirm his identity. “We are aware of the detention of a British national in Afghanistan and have been in touch with their family to support them,” said the agency’s spokesman.

Bailey’s work duties include liaising with the US state department on security-related issues. He was last heard from on Saturday after being arrested at gunpoint, a UK security source told the Mirror.

The Mirror quoted the source saying: “We were quite surprised he went back to Kabul after the western withdrawal as the security situation there is obviously much worse.

“Added to that, the Taliban government is making it very difficult for the few ex-pats working there, making it very difficult to travel. A lot of people are trying to get to the bottom of what has happened to him, where he is being held, and under what charges.”

Bailey’s arrest underlines the continuing risks facing the small number of westerners who continue to work in Afghanistan.

His employer has been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghans who were previously employed by UK organisations, including former BBC staff and those who worked for the British Council and UK forces, have been forced into hiding since the Taliban took over.

Earlier this month, Joseph Seaton, the former British Council Afghanistan English manager, said of his former colleagues: “These people are living in constant fear of their lives. They were contracted under a British government-funded scheme to teach English teachers British values of diversity, inclusion and equality, the values that … the Taliban oppose. They were always told they were employees of the British government.”

Since the Taliban’s takeover, the UN has warned that 23 million Afghans face hunger due to conflict, drought and an economic downturn.

In October, the World Food Programme’s executive director, David Beasley, said: “Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed.” (Source: The Guardian)

 

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