Afghanistan: Dentist fears for family in hiding from Taliban

image captionSuleyman Sakha says friends and colleagues have been very supportive

A dentist from Cumbria is desperate to secure his family's escape from Afghanistan because he fears they are a target for the Taliban regime.

Suleyman Sakha's parents-in-law worked for an aid agency before the Afghan government fell and are now in hiding.

He has appealed for help to try and get them to the UK.

Mr Sakha said although the situation often feels "hopeless" he is trying to stay positive that his wife's family do have a legitimate case for relocation.

The Whitehaven-based surgeon, who has lived in the UK since the 1990s, is putting a case together to try to insure they are amongst the 20,000 refugees who will be brought to the UK through the Afghanistan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme.

He has appealed to his local MP, the Conservative Trudy Harrison, for help and his friends and neighbours in Cumbria have offered him their support.

image source, Family photo
image captionMr Sakha's family have received death threats because of their aid work

The Taliban took control of most of Afghanistan more than three weeks ago, seizing the capital Kabul on 15 August, following the collapse of the Western-backed government.

According to the Foreign Office, more than 17,000 people were evacuated by the UK from Afghanistan before the end of last month, including more than 5,000 UK nationals.

Last week talks were held between UK officials and the Taliban aimed at securing safe passage out of the country for the remaining Britons and some Afghans.

Mr Sakha believes his wife's family has a case for being among those being allowed to move to the UK.

"Looking at the guidelines, because of the fact the whole family has received death threats, as they work for an international humanitarian organisation and this puts a mark on their back," he said.

"They might be seen as foreign collaborators or spies."

With his 18-month-old son growing up in Cumbria and another child due next month, Mr Sakha said it would be "brilliant" for his in-laws to be safe with their grandchildren around them.

image source, Family photo
image captionThe BBC is not identifying Suleyman Sakha's in-laws in order to protect their identities

Follow BBC North East & Cumbria on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Send your story ideas to

More on this story