n Afghan refugee who worked for the British army for 13 years has been forced to crowdfund to get a job in London after being told his qualifications aren’t recognised in the UK.
Akbar, 38, who wants to remain anonymous, came to Islington with his pregnant wife and two young daughters after the evacuation of Kabul this summer. He provided security assistance to the British army in Kabul from 2000 to 2013.
“They tried to find us, they tried to find everyone who worked with foreigners, especially with foreign soldiers,” he told the Standard.
“I was there for three days. There were many changes in that time. I saw people being killed and homes destroyed. My two-year-old daughter still has nightmares from what she saw.
“The people of Afghanistan lost everything overnight. People didn’t believe that everything could happen in one night, or even in a few hours.”
He was flown out of Kabul on a crowded British military plane on August 20 and supported into temporary accommodation by Islington council. He is now fundraising for a security course in London.
“My family are happy here [in the UK] now. We have our own apartment from Islington council, and we are thankful to the British government for giving us somewhere to live”, he said.
It has not, however, stopped him worrying about extended family still in Afghanistan.
Afghans have taken to the streets to protest the Taliban regime, with some turning violent.
“I’m very worried about my family’s safety and their future,” he said.
“Life is difficult in Kabul now. If I was still there it would be dangerous. The situation is not good at all.
Akbar is now working with crowdfunding platform Beam to raise £2,376 to retrain as a security guard in London.
“I started my life from zero here, so I have lots of hopes and dreams. First I want to get a good job for myself so I can support my family.”
He hope to start the course on December 13, funding permitting,
Alex Stephany, the founder and CEO of Beam, said the organisation had suppported more than 60 refugees and asylum seekers since launching in 2017.
“These are people who have been through so much, and desperately want to secure stable work, contribute to our society and build brighter futures. But there are often some big financial barriers in their way, like training, travel costs, and childcare.”
Akbar and his family have been granted indefinite leave to remain under the Home Office’s Operation Warm Welcome scheme. Under the scheme, Afghans who worked with the British military and UK government are eligible to move to the UK permanently as opposed to the five years’ residency previously offered, giving them unrestricted rights to work.
Akbar’s fundraising page can be found here.