Scots charity staff flee Afghanistan as Taliban seize control

Ten of the Halo Trust's deminers were murdered in their beds earlier this year.

Scots charity staff flee Afghanistan as Taliban seize control iStock

The staff of a Scottish charity have been evacuated from Afghanistan while local personnel remain in the hope they can continue their life-saving work.

The Halo Trust, based in Dumfries, confirmed all of its international workers had safely left the country as the Taliban secured control of the capital Kabul.

Around 4000 British nationals and eligible Afghans were estimated to be in need of evacuation in the city.

The Halo Trust clears landmines and explosives from countries recovering from conflict. In June, ten of the charity’s deminers were murdered in their beds in Baghlan Province, north of Kabul, by a group of masked men.

Major general James Cowan, CEO of the Halo Trust, said despite early reports blaming the Taliban an offshoot of Isis later claimed responsibility.

Following the attack he said the details of what happened remained “murky” but what was clear was that Afghanistan was “in the midst of another bloody chapter in its history”.

In an article, he wrote: “Mine clearance makes a vital contribution to stability because it is accepted by both the government and the Taliban.

“It also provides an alternative income for young men and a peaceful alternative to taking up arms or engaging in the illicit narcotics trade.”

Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes fearing the Taliban will impose a repressive government eliminating women’s rights and conducting public executions.

Following a government Cobra emergency meeting, Boris Johnson said his priority was to get UK nationals and Afghans who had worked with them out of the country.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We would like to thank everyone who has enquired about the safety of all of our staff in Afghanistan.

“We can confirm that all of our international staff have now left the country safely. We are currently focused on the safety of our Afghan colleagues.

“We hope that they will quickly be able to return to work, saving lives, as they have in Afghanistan since 1988.”

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