Salisbury aid worker says Taliban supporting efforts following Afghanistan's devastating earthquake

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham


An aid worker from Salisbury says the Taliban are being incredibly supportive to the efforts of his mission to help the lives of Afghan communities devastated by a deadly earthquake.

More than a thousand people lost their lives in last Wednesday's natural disaster, with a series of powerful aftershocks contributing to the death toll.

Ian Purchase, a former para-trooper, has been to Spera in the Khost province of Afghanistan with his colleague Nadima to deliver vital supplies.

The pair were greeted by men, women, children who had lost relatives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers in the quake.

The earthquake struck early on Wednesday morning local time, with its epicentre near the city of Khost. Credit: Bakhtar News Agency via AP

"It was a mess" says Ian.

"People were still digging graves and family members there had lost all their family members. We met many children who had become orphans we met many people who lost 18-20 members of their family.

"We are meeting children who just lost their mothers and fathers and they still had a smile on their face and we went to the graveyards and those people who lost all their families and they just couldn't even cry. It was just too much for them."

"The problem was that people were leaving their houses and they stepped outside and then they were going back into the houses to try and get things out. And then the tremors would happen again and then the houses would come tumbling down."

With many communities without access to any form of medical treatment, Nadima believes the tragedy needs to be used to bring change,

"We need to think, okay, could that be prevented? And yes, it could have if there were clinics in those places, if we had access to female doctors.

"So I think it is time to look at this situation and also think about how can we be much prepared?"

He's urging people to get involved through Dream Voice Act.


  • Watch: an and Nadima assess the damage caused by the earthquake


Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government last week appealed for more international aid as the country reels from the devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

The earthquake has destroyed livestock such as chicken and cows which many Afghan's use a source of food and income.

Ian says the Tablian has been nothing but supportive and the humanitarian efforts of himself and Nadima.

"The Taliban is 100% behind us. It's because we're doing humanity work, that's what they told us, we're not playing politics we're just supporting people in rebuilding their communities."

Nadima says, "More than ever we need to help these children, it's completely gone to the ground. We went to homes where they just had a little pot left, children wearing clothes without a place to wash them, everything they have gone."

Ian describes his purpose and appealed for further donations,

"We've been to areas where no one will go. As soon as we get donations we get the trucks to get to these difficult places. You can imagine these big windy roads up mountains.

"When everyone was leaving, I thought once again leaving. This is the time you need to be going in. This is what I am, and that's what I do. I can't just be doing a 9 to 5 back in the UK."

Nadima praised Ian's resolve in helping her, "We are very grateful that Ian Purchase is in the country he has been the backbone for me, he has kept us hopeful and he is optimistic."