More than 100 guards at the British embassy in Kabul had been told they are no longer eligible for UK executive protection attributable to they had been hired by an outsourced contractor, the Guardian has learned.
Loads of the 125-solid team of security personnel, employed by the world security company GardaWorld, had been given informal observe that they no longer absorb jobs guarding the embassy, quite rather a lot of stated.
The guards, a few of whom had been working for the UK embassy for over a decade, described feeling abandoned by British officers and their employer. Many had been forced into hiding, fearing for their lives.
In the period in-between, extra than 100 guards doing the same work for the US embassy, below a separate GardaWorld contract, had been evacuated and others had been receiving make stronger from the US embassy, in accordance with a senior Afghan national GardaWorld employee to blame of human resources.
On Saturday night, at the end of a prolonged shift helping British diplomats catch to Kabul airport so they could per chance fly after the fall of the Afghan capital to the Taliban, quite rather a lot of British embassy guards stated they had been told by telephone that since the embassy used to be now closed their companies would no longer be required. They had been asked to hand support computer programs, physique armour and radios.
One guard stated he used to be told by a British expat GardaWorld operations manager on Friday that his contract used to be going to be terminated. “He stated: ‘There received’t be a GardaWorld project any longer with the embassy; your jobs are gone.’ He himself left Afghanistan the following morning … No person asked whether we are real or no longer. No person asked whether our lives are in hazard or no longer.”
Oliver Westmacott, the president of GardaWorld’s Heart East operations, stated formal termination letters had no longer been sent out nonetheless added: “In actual fact on Saturday when the contract used to be demobilised, we sent individuals home. We are going to honour individuals’s salaries, indubitably up till the date that they stopped working, and we absorb every draw of giving individuals a final gratuity payment or severance.
“Now we must catch settlement from our purchasers, particularly the British Foreign Office, as to what the attention length is going to be, in every other case we are materially out of pocket.” On Thursday night one guard stated they had been informed their pay would continue for now.
Nearly all 160 GardaWorld workers working on the British embassy contract applied for attend from the Ministry of Defence-bustle Afghan relocations and assistance protection (Arap), designed to attend individuals working for UK organisations, and all aside from 21 translators had been rejected final month. They received letters explaining they had been no longer eligible attributable to they “had been ultimately employed by her majesty’s executive”. “We realise this can even moreover be disappointing news,” the letters stated.
The GardaWorld team provided your entire security for the British embassy in Afghanistan below its “British embassy Kabul project”, in conjunction with locations of work, accommodation and off-area visits. Loads of the guards are men, nonetheless about 10 are girls, to blame amongst assorted things for frisking female company to the embassy. Security for all British embassies globally used to be outsourced many years ago.
A GardaWorld HR manager stated he used to be asked to prepare termination letters for quite rather a lot of the Kabul embassy guards final week nonetheless the strategy used to be disrupted by the arrival of the Taliban.
The guards, four of whom gave detailed telephone interviews to the Guardian, are hoping the UK executive will reconsider its decision to refuse their applications for Arap.
“Now we had been doing a if truth be told unhealthy job for the British embassy, and we are in a unpleasant condition. We are identified as British embassy workers; our lives are now at be troubled,” one guard stated. Yet another added: “We worked in frontline positions, doing the most unhealthy work to protect British officers real. We risked our lives for them, and now we discover ourselves in this contaminated situation – no longer simply us, nonetheless our households are at be troubled.”
The guards absorb written to the UK executive asking to be included on the relocation checklist. “Contractors are human too; contemplate of them as human,” they wrote, asserting their jobs had been “exposed and within the final public peek” and they had been sceptical about Taliban guarantees of an amnesty for these that worked for foreign organisations.
The UK rejection has been compounded by the apparent termination of their contracts, which has left many timid about how they are going to make stronger their households.
Several former guards absorb spent the previous three days queueing outside the Kabul airport within the hope they can search recommendation from the diminutive team of British officers soundless administering the evacuation schemes internal.
GardaWorld describes itself as the sector’s largest international diplomatic security provider in high threat and intricate environments. It also provides security for the British embassy in Baghdad, and embassy security companies for extra than 40 countries.
Asked if the embassy guards had been soundless GardaWorld workers, Westmacott stated: “Technically they are attributable to we haven’t communicated with them formally to the opposite. … I fully appreciate the catch 22 situation that all these unhappy individuals of ours are in, in desperate situations attempting to kind their lives out and catch to security. So, it is a nightmare. We fully recognise that.”
He stated he has been working with the enterprise physique, Security in Complex Environments Community, to attempt to attend the guards.
The Ministry of Defence stated the guards had been welcome to reapply for the relocation plan. A spokesperson stated: “No person’s lifestyles will absorb to soundless be set at be troubled attributable to they supported the UK executive in Afghanistan. Over the previous few weeks on my own extra than 2,000 Afghan workers and family members had been relocated to inaugurate up their new lives within the UK.
“Now we absorb significantly expanded and accelerated the relocation plan and carefully assess every applicant for eligibility and security. Of us who had been brushed apart for important offences, in conjunction with these that portray a crime within the UK or threatened the security and security of British troops, will continue to be excluded.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson stated: “We are certain there is that if truth be told no legitimate basis to prevent civilians from travelling to security. We are monitoring the situation with GardaWorld closely and dwell engaging with them to provide any required assistance.”