A pizza firm boss from Kent has told how he sneaked into Afghanistan to help his desperate family last week while thousands tried to flee the country in the other direction.
Abdullah Sayed flew to Turkey via France, then onto Uzbekistan, before entering Taliban-controlled Afghanistan on Saturday, August 28.
Abdullah, 28, felt he had no option after his mother and five younger siblings aged between four and 14, called him in tears last week to tell him his father and brother – who both worked for the previous regime – had been arrested and had not been heard from since.
But now, he fears for his own and his family’s lives as they are hiding in an outhouse in the city with no electricity or running water.
His mother has to beg for scraps of food from neighbours and refills of drinking water as the family huddle on the floor in the windowless cramped space.
Kent pizza firm boss Abdullah Sayed (pictured left) was called by his mother and five younger siblings aged between four and 14 telling him his father and brother had been arrested by the Taliban. Feeling he had no choice, he flew to Afghanistan to save them, but is now trapped
Abdullah Sayed fears for his own and his family’s lives as they are hiding in an outhouse (pictured in video grabs from footage given to the MailOnline) in the city with no electricity or running water
‘We are living in conditions which aren’t fit for an animal,’ he told MailOnline. ‘I can’t go outside now because there are Taliban checkpoints everywhere and if they find me with a British passport, I’m a dead man.
‘The Taliban have promised an amnesty for foreigners, but there are lots of people saying that they are not abiding by that. We don’t know what to do.’
Eldest son Abdullah first left Afghanistan as a child migrant aged 14 and was placed with foster carers in Kent, where he did well at school and went to college.
A few years ago he started his own successful pizza firm in the area and he had made frequent trips back to see his family since before the Taliban takeover.
His former foster mother Sue, said: ‘He stayed with us for over a year, but we’re still in close touch. He is a terrific young man and this brave attempt to help his family is typical of him.
‘When I lost my husband three years ago, he was so good to me, like a rock. Now he’s in such a difficult position and the official advice just seems to be “get yourself to the border and leave the country” but that’s so much easier said than done.
‘I suspected he’d left for Afghanistan when he didn’t answer his phone last week. I’m beside myself with worry.’
Abdullah Sayed (pictured with friends and family), flew to Turkey via France, then onto Uzbekistan, before entering Taliban-controlled Afghanistan on Saturday, August 28
After making his way across the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, Abdullah arrived at his family home at 3am and his family gathered up what they could carry and moved to their hiding place.
Footage provided by Abdullah to the MailOnline shows the inside of the dark outhouse he and his family are staying in, with stone walls and their belongings stacked on shelves.
‘I’ve tried to email the Foreign Office, but all I get back is an automatic response. The Taliban are looking for us and there’s nowhere to go. We haven’t seen daylight for five or six days.’
’I feel desperate for help to get us out of here. The UK government announced that people should go to another country, but we can’t as there are hundreds of Taliban check points where they are searching every car and person.
‘If they found me, it would be my last day on the planet.
Pictured: A man on his bicycle rides past a convoy of Taliban fighters patrolling along a street in Kabul on September 2, 2021. Sayed told the MailOnline that ‘if [the Taliban] find me with a British passport, I’m a dead man.’
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 26
‘If they hadn’t taken my dad and brother and my family was safe there was no need for me to come, but my little sister, brothers and mom was crying and begging for help and they were scared that they would take my other brothers and kill them.’
The automated emails from the Foreign Office to UK citizens trapped in Afghanistan say: ‘British nationals who remain in Afghanistan need to consider carefully the risks should they attempt to leave by any route. It adds that he Foreign Office ‘cannot offer advice on the safety or travelling to any alternative departure point’.
The message concludes: ‘Any travel options you pursue are taken at your own risk. All travel throughout Afghanistan is extremely dangerous, and border crossings may not be open.’
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘The UK and international partners are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan. We have been clear that the Taliban must allow safe passage for those who want to leave.’
All names have been changed for safety reasons.