LONDON (AP) — The U.K. government is seeking to make contact with three British nationals detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan, authorities said Sunday.
The three men include a charity worker, a thrill-seeking tourist and a third person whose family has asked that he not be identified, according to the Presidium Network, a British charity that works in conflict zones and is representing the families of two of the detainees. The Mail on Sunday newspaper first reported the story.
“We are working hard to secure consular contact with British nationals detained in Afghanistan, and we are supporting families,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement.
The British government warns against all travel to Afghanistan, saying that there is a heightened risk of terrorism, kidnapping and detention by government authorities. Britain’s ability to provide consular support for detainees is “extremely limited” as the country has no consular officials in the country, according to travel advice updated on March 22.
The Taliban did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Presidium is working on behalf of charity medic Kevin Cornwell, 53, and a British man who manages a hotel for aid workers in the capital, Kabul, said Scott Richards, one of the group’s co-founders. Both men have been detained by the Taliban’s intelligence service since early January, but Presidium believes they are in good health and being well treated, Richards said.
Afghan security services, possibly acting on a tip, accused Cornwell of having an illegal firearm, Richards said.
But Presidium said the Ministry of Interior had issued a license for the weapon, which was stored in a safe and intended only for emergency use, Richards said.
“We call it a misunderstanding,″ he said.
In the course of their work, Presidium officials became aware that a third Briton, the so-called “danger tourist” Miles Routledge, 23, had also been detained. The group does not represent Routledge and has no detailed information about his case, Richards said.
Routledge boasts to his followers online that he travels “to the most dangerous places on Earth for fun.” His last tweet was posted on Feb. 27.
The Foreign Office didn’t confirm the identities of the detainees.
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman suggested Sunday that the government was “in negotiations” regarding the three men, though she offered little detail.
“If there are risks to people’s safety, if there are British citizens abroad then the U.K. government is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that they’re safe,’’ she said in an interview with Sky News. “The government is in negotiations and working hard to ensure people’s safety is upheld.”
Associated Press writer Riazat Butt in Islamabad contributed to this report.