Fears for health of British man Kevin Cornwell held by Taliban in Afghanistan

Family Picture
The family of Kevin Cornwell have made an emotional plea for his release. Credit: PA

The family of a British man held by the Taliban in Afghanistan have made an emotional plea for his release.

Kevin Cornwell, 53, from Middlesbrough has been held captive by the Taliban since January with another unnamed Britain.

His family has said he suffers with chronic kidney issues and requires urgent medical attention.

The charity medic, who is being assisted by being assisted by non-profit organisation Presidium, was detained by Taliban secret police on 11 January.

In a statement, the Cornwell family said there were "no words" to express the extent and impact of his detention on them.

Describing him as a man determined to bring quality healthcare to Afghanistan, they added: "Kevin is still in detention in a basement in Kabul and without medical treatment.

"Imagine yourself, as a family, as a wife and mother, a son or a daughter, and your husband is held in a country across the other side of the world by a foreign intelligence service, and his only crime is helping those who cannot help themselves.

"And that, this man who is the heart of your family, may die from the absence of medical treatment not because he committed a crime but because he cared for people."

Asking for Mr Cornwell's return, they added: "We are thankful for the two unscripted calls we received from Kevin while he is in detention, we have expressed our gratitude through the media, and asked for compassion and mercy during Ramadan, and now we again ask for compassion given the life-threatening illness that Kevin has."

Kevin Cornwell, who has chronic kidney issues, is still being held by the Taliban. Credit: PA

Presidium Network founder Scott Richards said: "On Thursday 20 April 2023, we learned the depth of Kevin’s medical condition and the immediate risks that this poses to Kevin’s health.

"We are no longer in a position where we have the allowance of time for extended deliberations on the release of the detainees, Kevin’s health necessitates it. If Kevin were to die in GDI custody, the ramifications for the Taliban would be broad."

Mr Cornwell and the other unnamed Briton were arrested at a hotel in Kabul when Afghan intelligence officers found a gun in Mr Cornwell's hotel room safe on 11 January.

The Presidium Network said the pair have been held without charge since they were arrested.

Afghan officers accused Mr Cornwell - who works for a charity providing free local healthcare and liaises with the likes of the United Nations and Unicef - of having an unlicensed gun.

The Presidium Network said the firearm was licensed and that the arrests were part of a misunderstanding.

Mr Richards added: "Continuing to detain individuals for whom the evidence clearly indicates that the situation is a misunderstanding, when there is a risk of fatality due to the inability to provide medical care, is of extreme concern."

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