Charity staff fail in attempts to be evacuated from Afghanistan

Two staff members had been holed up in a flat in Kabul after the Taliban seized control.

Charity staff fail in attempts to be evacuated from Afghanistan iStock

By Lewis McKenzie and Louise Hosie

A charity has said its staff in Afghanistan and their families, including a nine-month-old baby, have been unsuccessful in their bid to be evacuated from the country.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation, named after a Scots aid worker who was killed in 2010 after being captured by the Taliban, said its staff had been “inches away” from escaping the country after several attempts.

The charity – set up by Linda’s parents John and Lorna Norgrove – has two staff members, sisters aged 25 and 29, who had been holed up in their flat in Kabul after the Taliban took control.

The sisters and their families have now returned “safely” to their homes in Afghanistan after a 46-hour period described as “relentless” at the airport entrance amidst gunfire and the threat of a terrorist bombing.

The foundation said it hopes the UK Government will be able to arrange evacuation “over the coming weeks”.

In a statement, it said: “All of our attempts to evacuate our staff, and their immediate family which included a nine-month-old baby, were in vain.

“They were just inches away several times but things just wouldn’t work out, over and over again.

“Fortunately, after a relentless 46 hours at the airport entrance either in a bus or a panicky crowd, with incessant gunfire, and the constant real threat of a terrorist bomb, they returned home safely.”

They added: “We hope that the Government will be able to arrange evacuation over the coming weeks and we will do all we can to support this.

“We are not giving up in our support for the women and children in Afghanistan. As far as we are able, we will continue to support all of our students currently studying in Afghanistan.

“We are also working towards bringing 20 Afghan LNF medical students to Scotland within the next year to finish their studies at Scottish medical schools.”

Last week, the charity said they feared that their staff would be “left to the wolves”, despite having sought the help of MPs and UK Government ministers.

The Taliban has insisted that evacuations “will not be allowed” after the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops.

On Thursday, tensions were heightened in the region after two explosions at the airport in Kabul in an attack which saw a number of people killed.

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