Sheffield city mayor Dan Jarvis reunited with former Afghan army commander who fled Taliban

Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis has been reunited with a former Aghan special forces leader who fled the Taliban last month.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 3:38 pm

Mr Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, met ‘Joya’, in London this week, 14 years after working with him in Helmand.

‘Joya’ and his family made it to Britain with help from the Parachute Regiment.

Mr Jarvis said: “Years after we fought side by side in Afghanistan, it was a bittersweet moment to be reunited with my former comrade, Joya. I’m so pleased he and his family made it to the UK but devastated by the events that led them here.

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Dan Jarvis and Joya in Afghanistan

“Hundreds of his men and their family members have been left in Afghanistan in limbo and fearing the worst. These soldiers were members of an elite unit who took part in the most important and dangerous operations of the campaign. They fought with valour, courage and the utmost professionalism.

“Given the commitment they made, the government has a duty to ensure those left behind are afforded safe passage, protection and unimpeded access to the UK. And it needs to be done urgently.”

Mr Jarvis earlier told Parliament of his meeting in a question to the Prime Minister.

He said: "Later today I will be reunited with an Afghan special forces commander that I had the privilege of serving alongside. He is mightily relieved to be here but understandably deeply concerned about the hundreds of his men and their family members who, although approved for relocation to the UK, were left behind.

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells

"What can I tell him is being done to ensure that those who are in limbo are afforded safe passage, protection and unimpeded access to the UK?"

Boris Johnson promised Afghans forces "left behind" will "get the safe passage they need".

Mr Jarvis, a former Major in the Parachute Regiment, raised his concerns over the situation in Afghanistan in parliament last month.

He said at the time: “Many of us who served in Afghanistan have a deep bond of affection for the Afghan people.

He said the UK had not been there for them in their time of need, whch he described as shameful.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor