Distraught mother of tourist held by Taliban says she's 'distraught'

The distraught mother of a ‘danger tourist’ who is being held prisoner by the Taliban has said she is desperate to know if he is safe. 

Susan Routledge’s son, Miles, who goes by ‘Lord Miles’ online, was reportedly arrested on March 2 alongside Polish nationals Adrian Wojcik, 22, and Roman Bilski, 24, and is being held for questioning. 

The other two British men taken prisoner by the  in have today been allowed to make their first emotional phone calls home to loved ones, Mail Online can exclusively reveal.

The families of charity medic Kevin Cornwell, 53, and a British hotel manager told of their ‘great relief’ at hearing their voices for the first time since they were arrested almost three months ago.

The unscripted phone calls, which lasted just under two minutes, came after that three Britons are being held by the Taliban’s feared secret police.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said this morning that the government is ‘in negotiations’ with the Taliban for the release of the Britons.  

Miles Routledge, 23, first grabbed headlines during the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan last year when he went on ‘holiday’ to the country and had to be evacuated from Kabul.It is believed that he was detained by the Taliban on March 2

Kevin Cornwell, 53, a British medic for charity Iqarus, who has been detained by the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence in Kabul, Afghanistan, since January 11

‘Danger tourist’ Miles Routledge, 23, had returned to Afghanistan despite having previously having been branded an ‘idiot’ for needing to be evacuated by the British Army when the country fell back under Taliban rule in 2021. 

His mother fought back tears on Sunday as she told how she was desperate for news. 

Mrs Routledge, 64, from Birmingham, told the Daily Mail she usually kept up to date with her son’s travels on social media, but he does not appear to have posted online since March 16.

Mrs Routledge said: ‘I’m distraught.It is so worrying. I just want help to find out what has happened to him and make sure he is OK.

‘If he is being treated well that is good to hear, as long as he is being well treated. If I can get a message to those who are holding him, I just want to ask them to tell him he has my love and support.’

Mrs Routledge said she had not been contacted by anyone from the Foreign Office.

‘I am just desperate to know that he is safe,’ she added.’I don’t know who is holding him or where he is’.

His mother said it was his love of travelling that saw him return to Afghanistan despite the criticism.

‘He keeps travelling because he loves it, he’s only young and he’s just finding himself after finishing university.I just want him to keep safe,’ she said.

A Taliban security officer said the group of three men were taking part in ‘suspicious activities’. 

Scott Richards, a negotiator from the Presidium Network group, which is assisting the relatives of Mr Cornwell and the hotel manager, told the Mail: ‘We can confirm that the men have spoken with family, that the conversation was unscripted, and that they are being treated fairly.

‘The families were able to speak to them for around two minutes and they could speak freely.It was clearly an important and emotional call and represents tremendous progress in the situation. The details of those calls are Best Private University but we understand a great relief to the families.

‘The relief Kevin’s family expressed after hearing his voice for the first time in three months, not knowing if he was well, brought a sense of peace and gave them hope that this situation will be resolved soon.’

Mr Richards told Sky News that his organisation had not negotiated for the phone calls directly with the Taliban. 

We didn’t negotiate that phone call directly.We believe that the came out of negotiation with counterparts to create that circumstance. we believe we were influential in that outcome.’ 

He confirmed that his organisation Presidium is directly involved in negotiations for the hostage’s release.  

The UK does not have an embassy or any consulates in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover and the Foreign Office is working to secure consular contact with the three men, believed to be held in a secure unit for foreign detainees in capital Kabul. 

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘We are working hard to secure consular contact with British nationals detained in Afghanistan and we are supporting families.’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman confirmed on Sunday morning that the UK government is ‘in negotiations’ with the Taliban for the release of the three hostages. 

told Sophy Ridge on  that the UK government would do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure the safety of British nationals abroad. 

Suella Braverman told Sophy Ridge on Sky News that the UK government would do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure the safety of British nationals abroad

The Home Secretary said: ‘Anyone travelling to dangerous parts of the world should take the utmost caution.

‘If they are going to do that, they should always act on the advice of the Foreign Office travel advice.

‘If there are risks to people’s safety, if they’re a British citizen abroad, then the UK government is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that they’re safe.

‘The government is in negotiations and working hard to ensure people’s safety is upheld.’

Mr Cornwell, a married father from Middlesbrough, was arrested in a raid at his hotel by officers from the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) on January 11.

Chicago - DePaul University | DePaul University is a private\u2026 | Flickr

Taliban agents accused him of having an illegal firearm in the safe in his room at the Darya Village Hotel, which is popular with Western humanitarian staff.

Mr Cornwell’s family told The Mail on Sunday that he had been granted a licence for the handgun by the Taliban government.

He had been in Afghanistan for 11 months working as a medic for Iqarus International, which provides free health care to local people.Also detained in the raid was the hotel’s British manager, 52, whom this newspaper has agreed not to name at the request of his family.

He and Mr Cornwell have been held ever since. No charges have been brought and they have not been granted legal representation.

Mr Cornwell was arrested in his room at the Darya Village Hotel and Business Park in Kabul

Previously, Mr Richards told The Mail on Sunday that the case could be a ‘simple misunderstanding’ and urged the Taliban to pardon and release the men, who are understood to be jailed in a secure unit for foreign detainees run by the GDI in Kabul.

He said: ‘The weapon in Kevin’s room was stored with the licence issued by the Taliban’s ministry of interior and was apparently kept inside its holster.The weapon never left the safe, it had never been carried. So the GDI could have been following a tip, and then they find themselves with two British nationals in detention.’

There were concerns around Mr Cornwell’s health because he needs medication.

Mr Richards added: ‘The clear concern here is that the detainees have not been permitted access to consular officials or international observers.There is no clarity as to the legal process in Afghanistan such as the right to representation. There is no clarity on the charges. Kevin is a humanitarian worker, liaising with the United Nations, Unicef and the World Food Programme.

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