Gardener who worked for British Army fears for lives of his family with Taliban outside his home

Shista Gul says the Taliban are in the streets around his home and he fears for his family. Credit: ITV News

Taliban forces look set to overrun Lashkar Gah, the city which was the base for British troops in Afghanistan, leaving those who worked alongside the UK fearing for their lives.

Shista Gul was a gardener for the British Army. The Taliban know that. They have threatened to kill him for ‘betraying his country’.

Already, one of his sons has been shot dead by the terrorists, another grandson is kidnapped and missing.

His other son, Jamal Barak, who's been shot twice by the extremists, managed to get out and is living in Coventry.

He was an interpreter for the British Army and qualified for resettlement under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme.

But because Mr Gul wasn’t deemed to be working in a ‘frontline’ role, his applications so far have been turned down.

Mr Barak sent ITV News a video in which his father pleas for help from his compound and what appears to be gunfire can be heard in the background.

Mr Barak said his father had told him that the Taliban had entered Lashkar Gah and had been fighting with the Afghan army in the streets.

He continued that people had been taken from their homes and beaten.

In the video obtained by ITV News, Mr Gul says his house is surrounded by the Taliban and there is no way for him and his family to escape.

He pleas for help and says he and his family are in a bad situation.

"I don't know what to do," Mr Barak told ITV News, fearing for the safety of his family.

"Before it was 80% risk, now it is 99% risk."

Last week, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reported on Mr Gul's fears of being killed by the Taliban. In the intervening days they are now close to his front door

In a statement to ITV News, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "Nobody's life should be put at risk because they supported the UK government in Afghanistan.

"Our Afghan relocation policy is one of the most generous in the world and has already supported over 2,300 former Afghan staff and their families to start new lives in the UK, with 1,000 of them arriving over the last few weeks alone.

"As we continue to significantly accelerate the pace of relocations, hundreds more will follow.

 “We carefully assess each application for relocation under the criteria of the ARAP.

"Those who were dismissed for serious offences, including those that constitute a crime in the UK or threatened the safety and security of British troops, will continue to be excluded.”

The Taliban have been making rapid gains in Afghanistan after US troops left the country after nearly 20 years, around one month ago.

The Afghan national army is struggling to hold the line and district after district is falling to the Taliban.

With each Taliban victory, the risk increases for those who worked alongside British troops.

And the danger is not only for those who worked with foreign forces.

Hundreds of people are reportedly being held by the Taliban in areas they have overrun.

Schools have been burned and reports have emerged of restrictions being imposed on women akin to those imposed when the insurgents last ruled Afghanistan. Back then, they denied girls access to schools, and barred women from working.

Speaking to ITV News last week, Ed Aitkins a former Captain in the British Army summed up the case for helping people like Mr Gul. “The Taliban are completely indiscriminate when it comes to retribution against those who helped the British and international troops.

"They couldn’t care less if you were an interpreter who was terminated from employment or a pot washer in the kitchen.

"If they worked for the British and it is known in their communities - which it certainly is because nothing is a secret in their communities - then the Taliban will find out and will kill them and their family without hesitation.

"There are daily assassination attempts and threats to these guys and sadly many have already hit their targets.

"The British public have already expressed huge support for these guys. And our politicians have made sweeping pledges to support them.

"But what we are seeing is a resettlement policy that is being implemented in a pernickety and ungenerous way and it is not recognising that the Taliban won’t make the distinctions that we are making when deciding who we will help and who we will not.

"And I’m pretty certain this is not what the British public want. And it’s certainly not what the serving and veteran community wants.”