British-trained Afghan spies joining Russian troops because they feel left behind by UK

Afghan security officials stand guard - STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Afghan security officials stand guard - STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

British-trained former Afghan spies are being recruited by Russia for the war in Ukraine, the Telegraph can reveal, having failed to secure relocation to the UK after the Taliban took over last year.

Former intelligence officers are being offered cash bounties of $10,000 and monthly salaries for joining Putin’s war effort, with their families offered homes and security in Russia.

Many former members of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) are taking up the offer as they feel they have been left behind by Britain and other western countries that employed them during the fighting in Afghanistan.

Hamid (not his real name) a former NDS officer, worked with British special forces on counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban and Da’esh targets.

Speaking exclusively to the Telegraph from a safe location, he said: “the operation plans and the targets were given by the British Army and we would serve based on those.

“The ex-Afghan military officials are being recruited for the conflict in Ukraine. I see it as a very dangerous plan because these military officials were some of the most well-trained officials in the world.”

Hamid said that in September around 270 former NDS officers and their families left Afghanistan having been offered a salary of between $1,500 to $2,000 a month, a payment of $3,000 for every child below the age of 18. and citizenship of Russia.

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard - JALIL REZAYEE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard - JALIL REZAYEE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A former senior Nato commander said: “As part of Op Pitting [the MoD effort to evacuate entitled Afghans from Kabul] a number of members of the NDS who worked closely with the UK were evacuated but others were ignored, despite the fact that they had applied and were qualified.”

The British government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is intended to help Afghan citizens who worked with British forces and intelligence agencies in Afghanistan in “exposed or meaningful roles”. It can include an offer of relocation to the UK, subject to MoD eligibility criteria and Home Office approval.

Over 20,000 people have relocated to the UK under ARAP and the associated Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

However, many Afghans, who claim to have worked for the British government in Afghanistan, were left behind and have complained of long delays in getting their applications dealt with.

In a letter supporting his ARAP application which has been seen by the Telegraph, a former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), Nato’s second highest military position, said Hamid worked with a secret NDS unit called D011.

The General said D011 was set up during his tenure as DSACEUR and “was a successful example of British sponsorship and mentoring”.

D011 provided secret surveillance, usually from mobile phones, on specific targets which would then be used to que missions for allied troops, including Britain’s special forces.

It was “absolutely central to intelligence-led operations against high value enemy targets. [Hamid] was at the sharp end in these operations,” the General said

“There is no doubt at all that through his work on the ground, delivering on operations queued by D011, [Hamid] worked directly in support of UK objectives, and that by doing so he put himself and his family at risk.”

Afghan soldiers are put through training exercises under the supervision of British troops - Majid/Getty Images
Afghan soldiers are put through training exercises under the supervision of British troops - Majid/Getty Images

The NDS, partly trained by western intelligence agencies, was despised by the Taliban and many former officers have been killed or subjected to brutal treatment after the group took power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Hamid said many NDS officers have taken advantage of the deal between the Taliban and Moscow, allowing them to escape with their lives even if it means they can never return with their families to Afghanistan.

“When you're in need and your families are in need and you have the required skills, definitely you will just opt for the opportunity. I think this is a very dangerous thing.”

Officials from Moscow conduct assessments of each applicant from the Russian embassy in Kabul.

“They will see which kind of training an individual has received and in which area he can serve best,” Hamid said. "Based on that assessment they will be offered different positions.

“The special forces would be offered one position and the intelligence guys would be offered different jobs.

“I would request the British government to expedite the acceptance of ex-military officials of the Afghan government. I would also tell them, don't give this chance to Russia to make use of the opportunity to take the training and techniques which was transferred from the UK.”

The MoD was approached for comment.