Taliban fighters told a British medical student “we would shoot you dead if we weren’t under pressure from the international community” as he tried to get into Kabul airport.
The threat is a chilling foretaste of what could await those who have helped the British and American troops if they are unable to get on the last evacuation flights, the student said.
The 25-year-old, who asked not to be named, was born in Afghanistan but moved to the UK in 2010 and was granted citizenship in 2015, and is now going into the third year of his medical studies.
He had travelled to his home country to marry and had intended to sponsor his wife to join him only once he had completed his studies and had his own home and a job.
Instead the couple were forced to flee the Taliban, finally managing to leave the country on their fourth attempt at getting into Kabul airport following an eight-hour wait at a Taliban checkpoint.
They are now quarantining in a hotel in south London, and have no idea what they will do once the 10 days is up as they cannot afford accommodation.
The student told the PA news agency: “The Taliban were just firing aimlessly in the air – there were gunshots to scare people off, they were treating everyone like a herd of sheep, not as humans.”
He added: “Because they couldn’t manage the crowd they would whip women, the elderly, the children, whoever was in their way.
“I think the Taliban hasn’t changed, they are the same.”
One fighter told the student: ”If we were not under pressure from international society we would have shot you dead because of your passport.”
Those already in the airfield said their families had already faced intimidation and threats from the Taliban because of their links to the British, he said.
“The interpreters and security forces who had worked alongside the British soldiers, they told me ‘Now the Taliban are looking for us, they have knocked on our doors, they have asked our relatives where we are’,” the student said.
“Thankfully the British did their job, and kept the promises they had made to save their lives.”
He added: “The soldiers were very welcoming and we felt safe once they allowed us to go into the camp.
“The servicemen and women made us feel safe and they did all that they could given the situation.”
It took another 24 hours of waiting in the airport before the young man and his new wife, 23, were able to get on a flight to Dubai and then on to Greece before touching down in Birmingham.
But he fears for those with links to the British once the last flight has left.
“I think the Taliban will start to ask them, ‘Why did you leave your country? Why are you planning to go to another country? You don’t like us? So now you are at our mercy and we can do whatever we want’,” he said.
Now the student is convinced the Taliban will slip back into the same brutal regime as their previous reign 20 years ago.
“I have 0% confidence in the Taliban to show even 1% mercy to anyone who supported the Afghan government that was financially supported by the US, by Britain and by Nato,” he said.
“I think they will search every home to find people, and they might pay people and give them reward in order to identify who worked for the British or the Americans.”
The student compared Taliban rule to closing the door and pulling the curtains on a room, saying it was likely that they would cut off the internet and deny girls access to education.
“These things are rely on electricity, if the Taliban cut of the power people will have no access to internet,” he said.
“They can block access to the internet and social media, they can create a closed society.”
He added: “They have no feelings towards human beings – all they care about is just power.”
The man said the world is “tired” of Afghanistan, and would not continue to scrutinise the Taliban or spend money trying to protect its citizens.
“I think what the international community will do is just bury their head in the sand – they must be ashamed of what they have done,” he said.
He continued: “The world is not prepared to spend so much again, because history repeats itself in Afghanistan.
“It was the Russians who left and the Afghan government collapsed – but that took two years for its collapse, with the Americans it was two days.”
“I think the world is tired of Afghanistan, that’s how it looks. The people who are in power have turned their faces away from reality.”