Armed police ‘arrest Afghan special forces commando at Manchester hotel’

Armed police ‘arrest Afghan special forces commando at Manchester hotel’
Commando reportedly arrived on evacuation flight from Kabul and was in quarantine

Armed police have arrested an Afghan special forces commando at a hotel in Manchester, according to reports.

The commando is said to have been in quarantine with his family after arriving on an evacuation flight from Kabul.

He was arrested in a pre-dawn raid on or around 31 August and is being held under immigration powers, according to multiple media reports. An investigation is said to be underway and the individual is believed to still be in detention.

A source with knowledge of the case told Sky News the commando had arrived with his family during a British evacuation flight in August. The reason for his arrest is not yet clear.

Police can hold a suspect for up to 96 hours without charge if suspected of a serious crime, but this rises to two weeks without charge if a suspect is arrested under terrorism legislation.

The individual was reportedly placed in a hotel for their period of coronavirus quarantine as Afghanistan is on the government’s red list for travel, which requires all arrivals to self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

Greater Manchester Police referred a query to the Home Office, who declined to comment. A government spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”

The Ministry of Defence also declined to comment.

The UK has evacuated over 15,000 people, more than 8,300 of which were British nationals, from Afghanistan since the country fell to the Taliban last month.

Under the government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap), Afghans who worked with British Forces will be allowed to relocate in the UK. However, there are fears that many have been left behind and could face reprisal from the Taliban.

Britain’s last military flight left Kabul on 28 August, ending nearly 20 years of military presence in the country.

On Friday, defence secretary Ben Wallace said that the UK would be prepared to deploy lethal done strikes in Afghanistan if the Taliban allow terrorists to operate in the country again.

Mr Wallace said: “I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect citizens’ lives and our interests and our allies, when we’re called upon to do so, wherever that may be.”

It comes amid concerns that the country could become a safe haven for terrorists following the Taliban’s takeover. Ken McCallum, the head of MI5, warned there was “no doubt” that the jihadist’s military success would have “heartened and emboldened” extremists.

“There is no doubt that events in Afghanistan will have heartened and emboldened some of those extremists and so being vigilant to precisely those kinds of risks [is what] my organisation is focused on along with a range of other threats,” Ken McCallum told BBC Radio 4’s Today show.