Armed police have arrested an Afghan special forces commando at a hotel in Manchester where he had been in quarantine with his family after arriving on an evacuation flight from Kabul, Sky News has learnt.
The pre-dawn raid is thought to have taken place on or around 31 August or 1 September and the individual is thought to be still in detention.
It is not clear why he was arrested or if he has been charged with a crime.
Police can hold a suspect for up to 96 hours without charge if suspected of a serious crime. They can hold a suspect for or up to 14 days without charge if arrested under terrorism legislation.
The Home Office and the Ministry of Defence declined to comment.
A government spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on individual cases”.
A source, with knowledge of the case, said that the Afghan commando is understood to have arrived with his family in the UK on a British evacuation flight in August.
They were put up in a hotel in Manchester for their period of coronavirus quarantine because Afghanistan is on the government’s COVID red list.
Armed police are understood to have raided their room at just before dawn on or around 31 August or 1 September.
The source said he was told they took the individual away in handcuffs.
Greater Manchester Police referred a query on the arrest to the Home Office.
The UK evacuated more than 15,000 Afghans, British nationals and others from Afghanistan in just two weeks last month following the Taliban takeover.
The overwhelming majority of evacuees were fleeing in fear for their lives, including thousands of Afghans who worked loyally as interpreters and other staff for the UK military and diplomats – facing death threats from the Taliban in return.
Members of the Afghan special forces who provided a vital role in tackling the terrorist threat in Afghanistan and served alongside their British and other NATO counterparts have also been given a safe haven, with hundreds more hoping to be allowed to resettle in Britain.
They are living in hiding in Afghanistan, terrified of being hunted down by the country’s new Taliban rulers.
British security officials have been working hard to vet everyone who is granted refuge.
Sky News revealed last month that a person from Afghanistan on the UK’s no-fly list was flown into Birmingham as part of the evacuation operation.
The “no-fly list” is designed to block individuals who are considered a security threat from reaching the UK.
In that incident, though, the government looked at the case and decided “they are not a person of interest” and no further action was taken.
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