‘Idiot’ British student, 21, who took a holiday to Afghanistan ‘because it was dangerous’ then found himself trapped by the Taliban takeover is evacuated to safety from Kabul
- Miles Routledge, 21, said he had been abandoned by the British Embassy
- He claimed he was left in the Afghan capital and was hiding in a UN safehouse
- The physics student now says he has been rescued from Taliban territory
Miles Routledge, 21, now says he has been rescued from Taliban territory
A British student who claimed he was stuck in Kabul after going on holiday to Afghanistan ‘because it was dangerous’ now says he has been ‘evacuated’.
Miles Routledge, 21, said he had been abandoned by the British Embassy in the Afghan capital and was hiding in a United Nations safehouse following several failed attempts to escape the city.
Mr Routledge, from Birmingham, posted a series of photos on message board 4chan and streaming site Twitch of his apparent trip around the war-torn country.
The Loughborough physics student now says he has been rescued from Taliban territory.
Mr Routledge wrote on Facebook: ‘Got Evacuated at 4ish (it’s 2am now) with 100 or so other civilians, couldn’t message as there were cars emitting signals that would set off bombs, it blocked my airpods from connecting so I think it blocked all wifi/data.
‘The Taliban let us go through the airport and we met many of them, very long transition period but everyone was smiling and waving at one another, some took selfies with them. I slept on a dirt/gravel road and woke up as cars went by. We’re in a new safe house and we’re all hydrated, happy and ready for a few hours of sleep.’
Shortly after he posted an update saying: ‘On the flight out we aren’t allowed any liquids at all, no razors and only 1 bag up to 10kg so everyone is tossing all their belongings into a pile.
‘People are donating each other their items because they can’t carry them. Some lads stuffed my body armour and bag with protein bars, over 20 of them. Very happy man (right now). Thank you lads.’
His mother Susan was distraught when approached at the family home in Sutton Coldfield.
Miles Routledge, 21, claims he has been abandoned by the British Embassy in Kabul, who he alleges have not responded to any of his phone calls or emails as the Islamist terror group streamed into the capital
Pictured: an image posted to 4chan shows a flight ticket to Kabul
In posts to message board site 4chan and livestreaming platform Twitch, Mr Routledge, from Birmingham, claims he was quizzed by armed Taliban militants while on his way to Kabul International Airport
Harrowing pictures show people waiting near Kabul Airport’s runway to escape from the country’s capital – as the Taliban entered the presidential palace
She told The Sun Online she had urgently been awaiting a call from the Foreign Office to discover whether her son would be kept safe amid the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.
Mr Routledge has previously bragged of visiting Chernobyl, posting pictures in May saying it was two years since he visited the scene of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
In posts to message board site 4chan and livestreaming platform Twitch, he claims he was quizzed by armed Taliban militants while on his way to Kabul International Airport.
They apparently asked him where he was from – to which he said Wales. He claims the fighters did not know where Wales was, and let him go. Mr Routledge says he later came across another armed convoy during the Taliban insurgency and took a selfie on one of their gun emplacements.
Speaking to the Times, he claims he made the decision to visit Afghanistan after watching tourism videos on YouTube. He says that when the takeover began, he could not refund his flights so chose to travel instead.
Mr Routledge also said he had accepted the possibility that he might die in Afghanistan. In a message addressed to friends on social media, he apparently wrote: ‘I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and something has not gone to plan resulting in this situation.
Mr Routledge says he came across two armed convoys during the Taliban insurgency, and took a selfie on one of their gun emplacements
The Loughborough physics student says he is hiding in a United Nations safehouse in Kabul, where about 50 others including Britons, Americans and Turks are also staying, after arriving in the country this week
Taliban fighters stormed the ancient palace on Sunday and demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ as the capital city descended into chaos
Mr Routledge has also previously bragged of visiting Chernobyl, posting pictures in May saying it was two years since he visited the scene of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine
Boris Johnson blames US withdrawal for ‘accelerating’ Afghan collapse and vows to get Brits out in address made just hours after clowning around with Olympic athletes – and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was on HOLIDAY
Boris Johnson said the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan had ‘accelerated’ the current situation and said the Government is getting Britons out of the country ‘as fast as we can’, after he was seen posing for pictures with Team GB Olympians.
The Prime Minister has earlier posed for publicity pictures with athletes at an event in London as Downing Street said ministers and senior officials would meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the worsening situation.
And it emerged Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had flown back to Britain from his overseas holiday, breaking his silence on the war-torn country.
He said the world must tell the Taliban ‘the violence must end and human rights must be protected’.
‘There was no convincing me otherwise and I knew the risks, it was a gamble I took that went wrong despite my confidence and jokes.’
He yesterday told his viewers: ‘I was fully prepared for death, I accepted it. This trip has been a test of God. I’m very religious so I believe I’ll be looked after.
‘Before I left I wrote a letter to my friends saying that if I died, not to feel guilty, that I would die happy and religious and proud.’
He says that he may be safe because of a £15 joke purchase he made which gives him the right to use the title ‘Lord’, seen on his American Express card.
The student told his followers: ‘The Taliban may see that as reason enough to keep me alive, thinking it may hold some negotiating power as they’ll think I’m important. Let’s hope it won’t get to that stage though.’
MailOnline has contacted the British Foreign Office and the UN for comment.
US-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country for Tajikistan, effectively ceding power to the Taliban and bringing the 20-year Western occupation of Afghanistan to an end, while thousands of Afghan nationals rushed to the Pakistan border in a bid to escape Islamist rule.
Mr Ghani said in a Facebook post that he escaped Afghanistan to ‘prevent a flood of bloodshed’, claiming ‘countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed’ if he had remained.
He did not disclose details on his current location.
Foreigners in Kabul were told to either leave or register their presence with Taliban administrators, while RAF planes were scrambled to evacuate 6,000 British diplomats, citizens and Afghan translators, and the British Ambassador was moved to a safe place.
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country
In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces
China and Russia prepare to accept Taliban rule of Afghanistan: Beijing officials pose with leaders of militants and Kremlin has ‘no plans’ to evacuate its embassy due to ‘good relations’
China, Russia, Pakistan and Turkey all appear set to formally recognise Taliban rule in neighbouring Afghanistan after the Islamist terror group seized the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Sunday and the country’s embattled president fled for Tajikistan.
Most global powers are reluctant to recognise the rule of the militant group overthrown by US-led coalition forces in 2001, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that Afghanistan cannot be allowed to become a ‘breeding ground for terror’ again.
But Beijing and Islamabad could break rank in order to form closer ties with the likely new government, with Chinese state media preparing its people to accept the likely scenario that the ruling Communist Party might have to recognise the Islamist group.
In China, a series of photos were published last month by state media showing Foreign Minister Wang Yi standing shoulder to shoulder with visiting Taliban officials decked out in traditional tunic and turban in Tianjin.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said that there are no plans to evacuate the Russian Embassy in Kabul, with Russian state media reporting that the Sunni Islamist group formed after the Soviet withdrawal of Afghanistan has promised to guarantee the safety of its diplomatic staff.
And Iran, which has long been wary of the Sunni Muslim Taliban, has moved to ensure the safety of its diplomats and staff after previously offering to help end the crisis during talks in July.
The US and French Ambassadors have already been evacuated as the US rushes to rescue more than 10,000 of its citizens.
Italy’s defence ministry said a first military plane would arrive on Sunday to begin ’emergency evacuation’ operations, while Denmark, Norway and Finland are temporarily shutting their Kabul embassies, with Finland to offer asylum to 170 local staff and their families.
However, the Kremlin’s envoy said that there are no plans to evacuate the Russian Embassy in Kabul, as China, Russia, Pakistan and Turkey all appear set to formally recognise the rule of the Sunni extremist group which was created after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Bagram airbase was also surrendered to the Taliban by Afghan troops, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to build up Afghan security forces. Upon its takeover, hundreds of Taliban and Islamic State terrorists being held prisoner there were freed.
Commercial flights were later suspended after sporadic gunfire erupted at the airport, according to two senior US military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations.
Evacuations continued on military flights, but the halt to commercial traffic closed off one of the last routes available for Afghans fleeing the country.
As night fell, Taliban fighters deployed across Kabul, taking over abandoned police posts and pledging to maintain law and order during the transition.
Residents reported looting in parts of the city, including in the upscale diplomatic district, and messages circulating on social media advised people to stay inside and lock their gates.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan had ‘accelerated’ the current crisis and announced his government’s priority is to get UK nationals out ‘as fast as we can’ after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting in Downing Street.
He also vowed that the Middle Eastern state must not become a ‘breeding ground for terror’ again.
But he was slammed by Tory MPs – including ex-soldiers Tom Tugendhat, Johnny Mercer and Tobias Ellwood – for presiding over Britain’s ‘biggest single foreign policy disaster’ since Suez and called for UK troops to be redeployed.
They also called the crisis a humiliation for the West.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was accused of ‘going AWOL’ after spending the past week on holiday abroad while the Afghanistan crisis unfolded.
The British Foreign Office said he was returning to the UK on Sunday and was ‘personally overseeing’ the department’s response to the situation.
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