Three British men are being held in Taliban custody in Afghanistan – including so-called “danger tourist” Miles Routledge who returned to the country after being evacuated by British armed forces less than two years ago.
The other two men are charity medic Kevin Cornwell and another unnamed UK national who manages a hotel in Kabul. They are believed to have been held by Taliban secret police since January in a separate incident.
A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson said: “We are working hard to secure consular contact with British nationals detained in Afghanistan and we are supporting families.”
Scott Richards from the Presidium Network non-profit which is assisting Mr Cornwell and the unnamed Briton, told Sky News that he believes the pair are in good health and being well treated.
But he added: “There has been no meaningful contact [with the men], there has been no access by international monitoring agencies… and there’s been no other form of access to the individuals to date.”
“We’re very hopeful that contact will be made,” he added. His organisation hopes that a positive development in the situation could coincide with the end of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid.
Mr Routledge, 23, has gained fame – and attracted controversy – by travelling to dangerous countries and posting about it online.
In August 2021 he was on a “holiday” in Afghanistan when he was caught up in the chaos in the capital as the Taliban took control of the country.
He chose the war-torn country having looked up a list of the most dangerous places to visit in the world, despite the Taliban taking control of more and more of the country at the time.
Mr Routledge thanked the British Army after he was among those evacuated during the Kabul airlift.
He appears to have returned to the country since then.
Mr Cornwell, 53, was arrested at his hotel by officers from the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) on 11 January.
He is accused of having an illegal firearm in the safe in his room, but his family say he had been granted a licence for the firearm.
Mr Richards said this was down to a “misunderstanding” and the licence may have become separated from the firearm during the search.
The FCDO continues to advise UK citizens against all travel to Afghanistan based on the security risks involved, including the possibility of detention by the Taliban authorities.
“At this point in time it would be unwise for anyone to enter into Afghanistan that doesn’t understand the culture, that doesn’t understand these things, because it can change on you very, very quickly,” Mr Richards warned.