Executed: Afghan sniper who was trained by UK Special Forces is shot dead as his wife and children wait for him nearby
An Afghan sniper who worked alongside British Special Forces was murdered in front of his family yesterday by the Taliban.
Noor was traced to his sister’s home on the edge of the Afghan capital Kabul and shot three times in the chest and again as he lay on the ground by two gunmen.
He had been a member of a British-trained Afghan unit known as CF333, many of whom were rescued in the airlift from Kabul airport that followed the Taliban takeover. It is unclear if he applied for relocation.
The murder prompted shock and anger from members of the British military, with former Colonel Ash Alexander-Cooper, OBE, a commander of specialist operations with the SAS, tweeting: ‘For those leaders still unsure, this is not a game, ‘N’ was executed by the Taliban in cold blood just a few hours ago. His crime ? Years of loyal and professional service, mentored by British units.
‘There is no amnesty. Abandoned by us, this murder will not be the last.’
Noor is said to have been shot dead while his wife and five children, all under the age of nine – the youngest just ten days old – were at the entrance of the house.
‘This is the reality of the “new” Taliban,’ Mr Alexander-Cooper said. ‘Talk of inclusivity, diversity and amnesty is a joke and some are falling for it. Wake up.’
The murder is the latest in a series of revenge killings by the Taliban who have gone from house to house hunting those who worked with Western forces.
Noor’s friend, Rafi Hottak, a former frontline interpreter said: ‘Noor had been threatened many times and feared for his life. This is the reality of what is happening to those who supported the British and her allies.’
News of the murder came as it was revealed that a former frontline interpreter with UK troops escaped Afghanistan – with the help of Japan. Mohammad Khan was left behind when the RAF’s Kabul mercy flights ended at the end of last month.
He is the first ex-translator with British forces known to have successfully made it across the border into one of Afghanistan’s neighbours since the Taliban seized control. He had qualified for relocation to Britain but claims to have been turned back by UK soldier amid the chaos at the airport.
His case is set to be the first test of the UK’s promise to help former translators who qualify for relocation if they make it to a third country.
The 35-year-old crossed the border into Pakistan with his wife and three children at the weekend after a fear-filled two-day journey by road through Taliban checkpoints. Last night he was at a hotel in Islamabad hoping British diplomats would help him and his family reach the UK.
Mohammad said Japanese officials – he had worked with Tokyo-backed aid programmes – helped orchestrate his escape and, unlike the British, had been in regular contact with him. ‘They helped us prepare and then organised for us to cross the border into Pakistan,’ said Mohammad, ‘It was wonderful to finally know that we were safe.
‘I was very afraid and did not hear from the British after they left. I was eligible to come to the UK and went to the airport and spent 24 hours near the gates speaking with a British soldier telling him I was a brother interpreter… then there was a rush and I was one of those beaten by the Taliban.’
Mohammad had originally been turned down for relocation because, he said, he had been sacked for taking time away to attend his engagement party but the decision was changed and he was told he was eligible for sanctuary in July.
His case is one of hundreds highlighted by this newspaper’s award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign. ‘Everyone knew I had worked for the British,’ he said. ‘There were many spies pointing at us [interpreters] and we could not hide for ever.’
He said he is desperate now to go to the UK where he has friends and family.