Family fear deportation

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A FORMER British Embassy worker in Afghanistan who says he fled to Sheffield to escape threats from the Taliban is facing deportation to his homeland, where he fears he could be killed due to his past work for the UK.

Fahim Akbari, who is married to Laila and has four children, left the country in 2009, after working for the embassy, in Kabul, for eight years. He has been told by the UK Border Agency that the family is to be sent back to a different part of the country.

Fahim says he is recognisable because he was once a TV chef.

Fahim’s duties at the embassy included assuring supplies through the airport and escorting Britons – including a kidnap victim – in and out of the country. While in the job, he says he received threats from the Taliban and there was an attack on his life disguised as a road accident.

In Sheffield, Fahim, who lives in Burngreave, has been working as a volunteer for asylum seekers’ support group, Assist, based at Victoria Hall Methodist Church, in the city centre. Assist has organised a 1,200-signature petition calling for the authorities to allow him to stay.

It was presented to a meeting of Sheffield Council by fellow volunteer Mary Williams, who said: “We want to keep Fahim in Sheffield.

“He has become as invaluable to Assist as he was for the British Embassy He was in danger from both sides of the local population - he was viewed as a British spy and suffered threats.

“Fahim even raised his problems with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on their visits to Afghanistan.”

She added: “Because of his role as a television chef in Afghanistan, he is known all over the country, so would not be safe.”

Fahim applied for asylum on entering the UK in 2009 but the application was refused. Numerous appeals have failed.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: “Mr Akbari’s case has also been reviewed by a Senior Immigration Judge, who agreed with our assessment that he is not in need of protection.

“The Judge noted in his assessment that Mr Akbari is ‘not a credible witness’ and concluded that the threat letters ‘are not genuine’. Mr Akbari and his family have been offered assistance to return to Afghanistan voluntarily.”