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Ex-Soldier Arrested Trying to Help Afghans Leave Country

Ben Slater says Taliban questioned him about single female employees staying in hotels
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2021 11:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – A former British soldier in Afghanistan who has been trying to get hundreds of people, including his employees, out of the country ended up being thrown in jail by the Taliban after the group was turned back at a land border. Ben Slater says he brought a busload of staff members and their families to the border and they stayed in a hotel near a border checkpoint for two days while he tried to arrange the exit. He says on Thursday morning, he was arrested and Taliban members questioned him about female staff members being in hotel rooms without husbands, the Telegraph reports.

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Slater, a former member of the Royal Military Police who ran a company in Kabul before the Taliban takeover, says he was later released, but British authorities have now told him he can cross the border with only one assistant. He says his staff members are entitled to visas but British authorities are dragging their feet. "I got everyone where they need to be, paid the money, got things done and I just need people now to get that bloody gate open," Slater says, per Sky News.

Slater describes his employees as "mainly women working in the sectors that are not too popular with the new regime" and says they are desperate to escape. "It’s a complete disaster really," he says. "It's disgusting. It’s beyond horrible." After Britain's airlift effort from Kabul ended, British authorities urged citizens and eligible Afghans to make their way to the UK via land crossings to third countries, but Slater and other critics say the government failed to make arrangements with Afghanistan neighbors Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan that would allow them to cross. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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