President Joe Biden's much-maligned pullout of U.S. personnel from Afghanistan that stranded Americans and American allies in the region also forced international allies to make similar moves. And now the world is learning just how dangerous the retreat was for many of the stranded Afghans who helped the West in the fight against the Taliban and terrorism in the South Asian country.
A Tuesday report from the Times of London told the tragic story of an Afghan sniper who was trained by and served with British special forces and was then left behind when the Biden-instigated pullout chaos ensued.
The Taliban executed the Afghan sniper, identified only as "N" in order to protect his relatives, the Times said. He was "shot multiple times in front of his family in Kabul," former British Army Col. Ash Alexander-Cooper told the paper.
Alexander-Cooper, who served with "N" on the same operations and served eight tours in Afghanistan, said the 28-year-old man was the father of five and had been hiding in the capital city but was found and killed Monday. The murdered Afghan was part of a British-trained "elite unit" who had fought on the front line.
The colonel told the Times that authorities should have seen this coming.
"It was entirely predictable this would happen for all of those left behind who were given no guidance," he said. "He's been in hiding because of the threat he faced but they found him and he was shot multiple times, executed in front of his family."
Alexander-Cooper posted a censored photo of "N" to Twitter on Monday, with a warning that the world could expect more of this kind of horror from the Taliban.
"For those leaders still unsure, this is not a game," he wrote. "'N' was a executed by the Taliban in cold blood just a few hours ago. His crime? Years of loyal & professional service, mentored by British units. There is no 'amnesty'. Abandoned by us, this murder will not be the last."
"Murdered in front of his family, he is survived by his wife & 5 children under the age of 9, the youngest of which was only 10 days old," the colonel wrote in a subsequent tweet. "This is the reality of the 'new Taliban'. Talk of inclusivity, diversity & amnesty is a joke & some are falling for it. Wake up."
Another source, former Afghan interpreter Rafi Hottak who now lives in the U.K., told the Times that "N" was on a list Hottak had compiled of 700 Afghans who wanted to go to England but had ultimately been left behind. He confirmed to the Times that "N" was indeed a sniper and a member of the U.K.-trained elite unit of Afghans known as CF333.
According to Hottak, he had been "asking the UK government for years and especially in recent months to evacuate all those who served alongside the British forces as they were their eyes and ears."
Since the pullout ended, the British government has been telling Afghans eligible for resettlement in the U.K. to make their way to third countries, but for many, the journey is too dangerous, the Times said.
The Ministry of Defense said the nation's forces were able to get 15,000 people out of Kabul during the pullout and that the "commitment to Afghanistan and those who supported our mission there endures."