Afghanistan: Former British soldier who was arrested by Taliban as it seized control in country flown out of country

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A former British soldier who was arrested by the Taliban has been flown out of Afghanistan with a visiting UK delegation, Sky News understands.

Ben Slater, who runs a chain of NGOs, was detained last month while trying to help hundreds of Afghans to leave the country.

A UK government source said that he flew out of Kabul to Doha on the same flight as Sir Simon Gass, the Prime Minister's High Representative for Afghan Transition, and Chargé d'Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha, Dr Martin Longden.

An official statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office separately said that Sir Simon and Dr Longden had travelled to Afghanistan to meet senior members of the Taliban, including Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund and Mawlawi Abdul-Salam Hanafi.

They "discussed how the UK could help Afghanistan to address the humanitarian crisis, the importance of preventing the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism, and the need for continued safe passage for those who want to leave the country".

"They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls," a government spokesperson said.

"The government continues to do all it can to ensure safe passage for those who wish to leave, and is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan."

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