The Daily Telegraph

Veterans in a deadly cat and mouse game

- By Danielle Sheridan DEFENCE CORRESPOND­ENT

BRITISH veterans are in a race to rescue five former senior Afghan soldiers in hiding as a “life and death cat and mouse game” plays out in Afghanista­n.

The British-trained Afghans – including a brigadier general, a lieutenant colonel and a major – are on a list of some 200 civilians who are hiding in safe houses. “It’s a daily life and death cat and mouse game with Isis,” said Anthony Stephen Malone, a retired British paratroope­r with experience in Afghanista­n who is leading a rescue mission of around 10 British and American veterans.

They are members of an organisati­on called Patriot, originally set up to help veterans suffering from PTSD. But when Afghanista­n fell the organisati­on launched Operation Patriot to assist people whose lives were under threat.

Mr Malone described the group as “dedicated veterans... making inroads”.

They are funding the operation from their own pockets, along with some small private donations.

“I’ve thrown everything that I’ve got, personally, into this,” Mr Malone added.

“I’m not going to let people die on my watch; honour the pledge – no one left behind. We honestly cannot get our heads around why our government didn’t pull them out.”

The Afghan Brigadier General, who The Telegraph is not naming for security reasons, said he felt “disgusted” at the way he had been treated by Britain.

Along with his family he is changing his hiding place daily. Recently his family home in Kandahar was raided by Isis.

Mr Malone accused the Foreign Office of a “complete intelligen­ce and communicat­ion breakdown” during the evacuation that left the five Afghans and many of their desperate countrymen unable to reach safety via Hamid Karzai Internatio­nal Airport.

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