‘Terrified’ British Council Teachers Still In Hiding In Afghanistan

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Over one hundred Afghans who worked for the British Council as teachers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province are still in hiding and remain “terrified of reprisals.”

“We are all sitting inside, like in prison,” one said, while another said they were now running out of money.

The British Council ran schools giving English language lessons and teaching British values in schools across Helmand province, the UK’s primary theater during NATO’s 20-year occupation.

However, with the situation they’re facing, they state that their former staff now face is “gravely evident.”

Many of those still in Afghanistan have been in hiding since the Taliban takeover in August last year.

“We know our former colleagues are living in increasingly desperate circumstances, as the situation in the country continues to deteriorate,” said Scott McDonald, the British Council’s chief executive. He described the teachers as “the face of the UK in Afghanistan.”

One former teacher told the BBC: “We are really depressed.” 

She has a young daughter who begs to be allowed outside.

“We are hiding and we cannot go out, we have to stay inside our house,” she said. “We move from place-to-place when we hear the Taliban are coming for searches.”

Another teacher described going out of the house only every few weeks in disguise.

The British government has faced widespread criticism for the slow introduction of a promised scheme to resettle vulnerable Afghans and Britain’s allies from Afghanistan.

Last week though, the teachers were told they can now apply for the new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, which the Foreign Office said will bring thousands more Afghans to the UK.

The British Council said it has been pushing the British government to consider their applications as soon as possible.