Guards for the UK embassy in Kabul were told they are ineligible for British protection because they were outsourced from a contractor: report
Guards for the UK embassy in Kabul were told they couldn’t get British protection because they were outsourced through a contractor, The Guardian reports.
Many of them are in hiding now out of fear that the Taliban will harm them.
Meanwhile, more than 100 guards for the US embassy hired by the same contractor have been evacuated, an employee told The Guardian.
More than 100 guards for the UK embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, were told they were ineligible for British protection because they were outsourced through a contractor, reported The Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman in an exclusive story.
Some of them were told over the phone that their jobs had been cut after they finished a long shift helping British diplomats escape from Afghanistan through Kabul’s airport, they told The Guardian.
They were part of a 125-strong team hired by global security firm GardaWorld, and most of them were given informal notices that they no longer had jobs at the embassy, reported Gentleman.
At the same time, more than 100 security personnel working at the US embassy in Kabul under GardaWorld were evacuated from the country, a senior Afghan human resources employee for the firm told The Guardian.
Oliver Westmacott, president of GardaWorld’s Middle East operations, told The Guardian that the firm would honor salaries and severances for its employees. GardaWorld did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Without protection, many of the guards employed by the UK embassy are now forced to hide from the Taliban, which took Kabul on Sunday. There has been widespread skepticism toward the hardline Islamist group’s assurances that it would not seek revenge against those who helped or worked for their enemies.
Four guards interviewed by The Guardian tried applying for help under the UK’s relocation and assistance policy for Afghans, but were rejected along with most of their GardaWorld colleagues working at the embassy. They said they hoped the denial of their applications would be reconsidered.
“We worked in frontline positions, doing the most dangerous work to keep British officials safe. We risked our lives for them, and now we find ourselves in this bad situation – not just us, but our families are at risk,” one guard told The Guardian. The UK Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Guardian added that several of the UK embassy guards spent at least three days waiting at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in the hopes of evacuating from the country. Afghans have been swarming Kabul’s airport, desperate to get on a flight and escape an expected crackdown from the Taliban.
Most of those waiting at the airport have been men – owing to the higher likelihood that men worked with foreign organizations in roles such as security guards, drivers, and translators, said experts.
Footage earlier this week showed crowds massing on the tarmac as gunshots rang in the background. Other photos and videos emerged of Afghans clambering onto jet bridges, clinging onto flights during takeoff, and even what appeared to be people falling off planes in the sky.
Read The Guardian’s full story here.
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