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Three British Men Being Held by Taliban in Afghanistan

Three British nationals are currently being held in custody by the Taliban in Afghanistan, a humanitarian organisation has told the BBC.

Scott Richards from the Presidium Network named one of the men as Kevin Cornwell, 53, from Middlesbrough.

Mr Richards said Mr Cornwell and another unnamed man had been arrested in January. He confirmed a third man was also arrested on a different date.

The home secretary said the government was “in negotiations” over the men.

Speaking to Sky News, Suella Braverman said: “Anyone travelling to dangerous parts of the world should take the utmost caution. If they are going to do that they should always act on the advice of the Foreign Office travel advice.

“If there are risks to people’s safety, if they’re a British citizen abroad, then the UK government is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that they’re safe.

“The government is in negotiations and working hard to ensure people’s safety is upheld.”

The Foreign Office said it was working hard to contact the men.

The Presidium Network is a UK-based non-profit organisation that provides support to communities in crisis, representing the needs of people affected by violence or poverty to international policy makers.

Mr Richards confirmed the organisation is representing Mr Cornwell, a paramedic who works for a charity, and the second unnamed man but not the third British national.

Mr Richards said while there were “no official charges as such”, the two men’s detention on 11 January was understood to be over a weapon in a safe in Mr Cornwell’s room, which he said was stored with a licence issued by the Afghan interior ministry.

“That license is missing,” he said, adding: “But we have taken several statements from witnesses who have seen the licence and affirm its existence.

“It is perfectly possible that during the search the licence was separated from the weapon and, as such, why we refer to this scenario as a probable misunderstanding.”

In a statement to the BBC, Iqarus – the charity Mr Cornwell has worked with as a medic – said it had been “working tirelessly, alongside the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to secure Kevin’s release”.

“These efforts are our top priority and are ongoing,” it said.

The third man is understood to be Miles Routledge, 23, from Birmingham, who was evacuated from Afghanistan by British Armed Forces in August 2021.

The former Loughborough University student has attracted attention by travelling to dangerous countries and posting about it on social media.

He previously shared that he chose Afghanistan because he enjoyed “dark” and “extreme” tourism.

Following his extraction from the country less than two years ago, he told the BBC he was “exhausted but relieved” and thanked the British Army who had been deployed to support the evacuation of UK nationals from Kabul.

Mr Richard told Sky News: “To our knowledge and awareness, we do believe they are in good health and being well treated.

“We have no reason to believe they’ve been subject to any negative treatment such as torture and we’re told that they are as good as can be expected in such circumstances.”

He added that there has been “no meaningful contact” between authorities and the two men Presidium is assisting.

Source : BBC