A clutch of Afghan pilots who fled to the neighboring nation of Uzbekistan say the Taliban will certainly kill them in the event that they try to return residence.
“In the event that they ship us again, I’m one hundred pc certain they’ll kill us,” one pilot flatly informed Reuters. The airmen have been skilled by the USA. Many escaped with their very own plane within the hours earlier than the Taliban overthrew the previous Afghan authorities.
If the brand new Islamic authorities elected to maintain them alive, the pilots may additionally grow to be a useful retailer of technical data to the Taliban and assist them navigate a number of the complicated equipment retreating US forces left behind of their harried withdrawal.
“It’s crucial that these personnel not fall into the arms of the Taliban each for his or her security and the precious technical data and coaching they’ve,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) informed Reuters.
The pilots are at the moment held in an uneasy limbo at a former coronavirus ward close to the Uzbek metropolis of Termez. US officers concern the federal government there may be coming below vital strain by the Taliban to repatriate the pilots.
Uzbekistan would in the end have to interact in a fragile diplomatic dance about who they valued relations with extra, their instant neighbor, or the USA, specialists stated.
“They need to have good relations with Taliban. They don’t need to provoke them, however additionally they don’t need to provoke us,” John Herbst a former US ambassador to Uzbekistan informed the wire service.