Charity workers stuck in Afghanistan after being ‘inches away’ from evacuation

A leading Scottish Afghan charity has said it will not give up on its workers in the country after attempts to evacuate staff from Kabul “were in vain”.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation said that two of their staff and their families had not made it out of Kabul on evacuation flights and were now looking for alternative routes out of Afghanistan.

The educational charity founded by John and Lorna Norgrove in memory of their daughter Linda, lobbied the UK Foreign Office in a cross-party attempt to get their staff to safety.

John Norgrove said that in the chaos surrounding Kabul airport in the last few weeks the staff and their families had to return home.

He said: “They were just inches away several times, but things just wouldn’t work out, over and over again.”

“After a relentless 46 hours at the airport entrance, either in a bus or a panicky crowd, with incessant gunfire and the constant real threat of a terrorist bomb, they returned home safely.”

John and Lorna Norgrove set up the women’s educational charity in memory of their daughter Linda who was kidnapped by the Taliban and killed during a rescue attempt in Afghanistan in 2010.

The couple said they hoped the UK government would be able to arrange further evacuations in the coming weeks, and it would do everything it could to support this.

John Norgrove said: “We are not giving up in our support for women and children in Afghanistan. As far as we are able we will continue to support all our students in Afghanistan.”

Since being established the charity has focused on educating women and girls and several graduate medics from their programme are now working in their home communities.

The charity said it was hoping to bring 20 of the medical students it supports to Scotland within the next year, to finish their studies at Scottish medical schools.

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