Plea to help Afghan Spirit Aid staff in fear for lives


Categories: News

Scots actor David Hayman and Brendan O’Hara MP join forces calling for UK government to take action

In August, just days after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan I wrote to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in my capacity as SNP international human rights spokesperson, asking for the UK government to help evacuate Afghans working for the Scottish humanitarian aid charity, Spirit Aid, and their families.

The charity, founded in 2002 by the actor David Hayman, provides vital assistance in some of the poorest countries in the world including those living in extremely rural, deprived areas of Afghanistan.

Spirit Aid staff have helped countless people around the world including in the most remote areas of Afghanistan for nearly 20 years.

The press are not giving the full picture of what is happening on the ground, there are major, major reprisals”

David Hayman, actor and founder of Spirit Aid

Following the end of the UK evacuation programme, Operation Pitting, the Home Office took over dealing with cases but I have not received a reply to say if they will even consider helping Spirit Aid staff who include doctors, teachers and midwives.

Providing vital food and medicines has meant the difference between life and death for many Afghans particularly children where child mortality is amongst the highest in the world.

As you will hear in this clip, David is very concerned about his staff and their families who say the situation is far more dangerous and worrying than is being reported. People are desperate and in daily fear for their lives.

“The press are not giving you the full picture of what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan, there are major, major reprisals’, he said.

“So, we’re dealing with a whole group of professional, dedicated, hard-working people who have served their country in Spirit Aid and the overseas work of the United Kingdom for the last 20 years and we have literally, this Government, have deserted them.

“I mean, they’re not picking up the mantle fast enough and they’re not dealing with it.”

David and I have now delivered a letter to the office of the Minister for Afghan Resettlement, Victoria Atkins but no response has been received. We’ve also written letters to the Prime Minister asking for an audience with the home secretary, Priti Patel, with the person who is involved with the Afghan Taskforce, and we’ve had no response as yet.

Brendan O’Hara MP and Spirit Aid founder David Hayman with the letter addressed to the UK minister for Afghan Resettlment.

The UK government should hang their heads in shame at this moral, political and humanitarian tragedy that could have been avoided.