Colonel who worked with British troops in Afghanistan shot dead

Colonel who worked with British troops in Afghanistan was shot dead on his doorstep by Taliban as he waited to come to the UK

  • Colonel Shafiq Ahmad Khan was lured into a trap and shot dead on his doorstep
  • He had worked with Task Force 444, who often operated with UK Special Forces
  • Officers and soldiers from the force said to have be priority targets for Taliban 
  • Devastated family say he applied to come to UK after repeated death threats

A senior Afghan intelligence officer who worked alongside British forces has been murdered by the Taliban as he waited to hear if he could relocate to the UK.

Colonel Shafiq Ahmad Khan, an ex-director of intelligence with Afghan Special Forces, was lured into a trap and shot twice in the heart on his doorstep.

The devastated family of the 61-year-old grandfather said that he had applied to come to Britain in January because of repeated death threats from the Taliban.

He had worked at one point with Task Force 444, who often operated in conjunction with UK Special Forces and intelligence officers.

Officers and soldiers from the force are said to have been made priority targets for the Taliban. 

Last week this newspaper’s award-winning Betrayal of the Brave campaign highlighted the fears of Afghans who risked their lives beside British forces.

They say they are waiting desperately and in hiding for up to nine months for the UK to decide if they can relocate – a delay that they label ‘cruel’ and ‘life endangering’.

Colonel Shafiq Ahmad Khan (pictured) was an ex-director of intelligence with Afghan Special Forces, who worked alongside UK forces

Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August last year

Taliban killings and beatings have been stepped up with the families of those who worked for Britain also targeted.

Ahmad, a former British military interpreter, who had worked with Colonel Khan and UK forces, said: ‘As an intelligence director, Shafiq had been a top target for the Taliban and had spoken of his hopes of coming to the UK and finding safety. 

‘He had been hiding in Kabul but he was told that his family home in Panjshir (an area of resistance to the Taliban) had been raided and looted.

‘He decided to go home to check on the property and was told it was safe but it was a trap. Shafiq was sitting with his wife and grandchildren on the second floor when there was a knock at the door.

‘He had been expecting his brother and went to answer it. When he opened the door the Taliban fired shots and two hit him on the right side of the chest in the heart killing him.

‘This is the reality of those who worked alongside the British.’

News of the horrific killing came as a former interpreter at the British Embassy left behind told how his brother had been kidnapped and was being held hostage by the Taliban.

Mohammad, 33, who is also waiting to hear if he will be allowed to come to the UK, said yesterday that his brother had been arrested last week at the family home.

A letter was then delivered saying that Mohammad must ‘give himself up’ and only then would his brother be released.

Former British Embassy interpreter Mohammad, 33, who is also waiting to hear if he will be allowed to come to the UK

‘I know that if I submit to this I could die,’ said Mohammad, a father-of-six.

‘All this is because I worked for the British… that is why they want to punish me.’ 

Mohammad had been among several bus-loads of ex-British Embassy interpreters and security guards waiting to enter Kabul’s airport to board RAF mercy flights last August when a large bomb exploded killing over 180 people and they were forced to turn back because of the blast.

Mohammad said that after the evacuation, which rescued 15,000 linked to Britain, ended days later they were told to reapply and he is still awaiting a decision on if he can relocate.

More than 150 people together with families from his group are among the many thousands waiting for a decision on their applications under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme or other similar schemes.

‘I do not understand how many of those I worked with are safe in the UK while others like me have to live a life of fear and suspicion,’ Mohammad said.

Rafi Hottak, a former supervisor of translators, who survived being blown up on the frontlines in Helmand and now campaigns for his former Afghan colleagues, said: ‘These horrific killings are happening because so many of those who worked alongside the British are still in the country, most of them in hiding.

‘It is shameful that the cases are taking so long. Meanwhile, hundreds who have been told they are eligible to come to the UK are still stranded in Afghanistan. 

‘The UK has rescued many and been generous but it needs to do much more if lives are not going to be lost.’

Asked about the Taliban’s murder of Colonel Khan, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

He stressed that 9,200 Afghans were in the UK because of the ARAP scheme and it was a ‘continuous’ process.

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