I trusted the British forces as we fought our common enemy – Afghan pilot’s letter in full

The Afghan pilot describes how he was forced to leave his young family as his ‘very presence’ in their home put them at risk

Independent Staff
Thursday 30 March 2023 18:54 BST
Airman says he ‘flew over thirty combat missions against terrorist threats in my country’
Airman says he ‘flew over thirty combat missions against terrorist threats in my country’ (The Independent)

Here is the Afghan pilot’s letter, which has been sent to Rishi Sunak, in full:

Dear Rishi Sunak,

I am an experienced Afghan Air Force pilot who worked with coalition forces, which included British forces, for several years.

I flew over thirty combat missions against terrorist threats in my country and was involved in many missions co-ordinated by British troops in Afghanistan.

When your forces left Afghanistan, the Taliban forced me into hiding. I managed to escape and, unable to find a safe route to Britain, took a dangerous journey across five countries before being forced to pay for a place on a small boat to cross the Channel to Britain.

The Independent has launched a petition calling for the UK to support Afghan war heroes who served alongside Britain

I asked for help in return for the help I once gave your people. Instead you have threatened to forcibly deport me to Rwanda.

I am writing to you now asking you to honour the promises made to Afghan servicemen at the end of the campaign by:

  • Withdrawing your notice of intent to send me to Rwanda
  • Granting my full asylum in the UK
  • Allowing me to reunite with my family

I had no choice but to leave my family, as my very presence in our home put them in danger, and it was impossible to bring them on my fugitive journey from Afghanistan to the UK. They remain in some danger now, and I must get them out as soon as possible.

If you have the honour and decency of your troops, you will understand and respect this. I trusted the British forces and was proud to work together as we protected each other from our common enemy. I hope you will now reflect on that mutual commitment as you read this letter.

That commitment was made not just by myself, but by many brave men and women in Afghanistan, who now find themselves threatened by the Taliban and have no lawful means of escape.

You say that there are safe and legal routes to the UK for us; this is simply untrue. Men I served with are stuck in exile, faced with a return to certain death at home, or an illegal journey here. On my way, I met many others with the same problem.

It is important that you grant these people protection in the country they risked their lives to help. I would like to explain our predicament to you so that you might better honour your country’s promises, and to that end I ask that you agree to meet me to discuss the situation.

Yours sincerely


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