Veterinary volunteers for an international animal rescue charity fear they will be “killed by the Taliban” after being left “stranded” overseas.

A total of 18 staff who worked for Mayhew, a charity based in Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green, are hoping to seek refuge in the UK but are currently in Pakistan without financial aid.

They were part of an a operation involved in a mass canine rabies vaccination programme and controlling the free-roaming dog population of Kabul.

Mayhew suspended the programme in August 2021 after the Taliban’s return to power. During this time, Mayhew Afghanistan staff were paid their salaries.

But when the programme resumed in late September last year and the charity was unable to evacuate staff, many resigned and fled Afghanistan in fear of the Taliban.

Operation Magic Carpet involved illegally smuggling 92 former employees and their families to temporary housing in Pakistan. They did not have passports or visas to enable them to work in the country.

Despite the British Veterinary Association and others calling for government action to help those stranded in Pakistan, none have been rescued.

Funding support from Operation Magic Carpet has now stopped and the volunteers say they feel forgotten about as they face deportation to Afghanistan or possible arrest from the Pakistani police.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Outside the Mayhew buildingOutside the Mayhew building (Image: Jonathan Goldberg)

One person, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We have been worried since Operation Magic Carpet smuggled us to Pakistan. Since Operation Magic Carpet abandoned us, we have more concern that we will fall into the hands of the Taliban.”

The volunteer told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “We don’t feel safe in Pakistan and are not allowed to work here. If the UK government allows us, there is a chance we [can] go there and work for them as we are professional veterinarians.

“We really don’t know why [the] UK does not do this while there are hundreds of people who are entering this country and they give them shelter but not us.”

Volunteers say need to be “evacuated ASAP”, have no money for food and medicine and are afraid they will lose their veterinary knowledge after staying unemployed in Pakistan for nearly a year.

In a statement, Mayhew said: “We have provided details of an advice line for Afghan refugees currently in Pakistan, and we continue to provide references for our former colleagues when requested to aid their search for employment.

“Should any of our former employees return to Afghanistan and we have vacant positions at that time, we will of course consider them.”

However the charity has distanced itself from the employees stranded, saying it does not have “any activity or operational involvement in Pakistan” and is “limited” in how it can support former employees.

Despite claims that the charity is not making efforts to help those in Pakistan, a statement reads: “We have been making ongoing efforts, which are confidential, to further support this group; this follows several letters to the UK government since August 2021.

“We are hopeful for a positive outcome for our former colleagues and their families.”

A UK Government spokesperson explained that 21,000 people have been brought to safety to the UK and added: "We are still working hard and have supported over 5,000 eligible individuals to leave Afghanistan since the end of Op Pitting."