Who is Miles Routledge? British student trapped in Afghanistan evacuated to safety
Miles Routledge claimed he was abandoned by the British Embassy in Kabul, alleging they did not respond to any of his phone calls or emails
A 21-year-old British student who claimed he was trapped in Afghanistan in the midst of the Taliban’s takeover of the country has now been 'evacuated'. Miles Routledge says he was let go by the Taliban after he told them he was from Wales.
Earlier, Routledge had claimed he was abandoned by the British Embassy in Kabul, alleging they did not respond to any of his phone calls or emails as the fundamentalist militant group took over the country’s capital. Routledge, a Loughborough University student, said he was forced to hide in a United Nations safehouse in Kabul - where about 50 others including Britons, Americans, and Turks are also staying, while he waits for an opportunity to flee the country and return home.
Routledge now claims he has been rescued.
"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," Routledge wrote on Facebook.
"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."
Then he posted another update: "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."
Who is Miles Routledge?
As per various reports, a Facebook account believed to be that of Routledge, shared on May 5, “I've just booked my flight to Afghanistan.” Sharing his flight path, he wrote, “Wish me luck, I will bring back some small souvenirs for whoever wants one.”
The Birmingham resident posted a series of photos of his apparent trip around Afghanistan including his air ticket to Kabul and posing with body armour and a gun that he said belonged to UK security personnel.
Routledge, through posts to message board site 4chan and the live-streaming platform Twitch, claimed that he was quizzed by armed Taliban militants while on his way to Kabul International Airport. They allegedly asked him where he was from and he said Wales. He claimed they did not know where Wales was, and let him go. Routledge then said that he later came across another armed convoy and took a selfie on one of their gun emplacements.
He claimed that he made the decision to visit Afghanistan after watching tourism videos on YouTube. “I like risk, I’m a banker, so it makes sense," he told the London Times. “I hate lying around on a beach, so I wanted to do something a little bit different. After graduating, I’ll have a full-time job and maybe a family, so won’t have the opportunity to do things like this again. I thought [Afghanistan] looked quite nice, the food seemed amazing, and it was dirt cheap.”
He said that when the takeover began, he could not refund his flights so chose to travel instead. He also said he had accepted the possibility that he might die in Afghanistan.
In a message addressed to friends on social media, he reportedly wrote: “I've bitten off more than I can chew and something has not gone to plan resulting in this situation. 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 also reportedly said, “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 also reportedly said that one reason he might be safe was a £15 ($20) joke purchase he made which gave him the right to use the title “Lord” on his American Express card. He said, “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.”
On the Facebook account that allegedly belongs to him, Routledge wrote two posts recently. On one, he said, “Thank You all for the kind messages, I’ve worked through all 200+ of them to thank each one of you personally, I couldn’t have done it without you lot. I’m all safe in this safe house, the people are great and I look forward to the 2 news articles I’ve got coming out about me. We may be happy I'm fine but please consider the people who live in Afghanistan as they’re doing so much worse. Pray for them please, I will be doing so tonight.”
On the other, he said, “I’ve been telling journalists this but despite how interesting my situation is, please remember I'm comfortable whereas the average Afghani is fearing for their lives. My tour guide is currently fearing for his family and his only crime is going the extra mile and saving my life, I can never repay him and that saddens me. I’ve heard about some kind people gathering money for my trip but please put it to better use and donate to some charities in the area. A few $ or £ will make all the difference for a family, it’s what I’ve been trying to do on this trip but sadly it’s never going to be enough and that pains me.”