A refugee from Afghanistan who has been called a “Russian spy” was stripped of his British citizenship but flew back to the UK during the evacuation of Kabul, a court has heard.
The court heard that the alleged spy – who is identified as C2 – also worked for the Home Office, GCHQ and MI6.
His British citizenship was renounced in 2019 after MI5 suggested he was an agent for the GRU – the Russian military intelligence agency accused of carrying out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
Despite this, C2 was allowed onto one of the last flights departing Kabul and heading to Britain, during the Taliban takeover of his native country in 2021.
He had been evacuated as part of Operation Pitting, along with 15,000 others considered to be at risk from the terror group.
His barrister said authorities “recognised that owing to his previous activities on behalf of the UK he would be at risk from the Taliban”.
Upon his arrival in the UK, he was arrested.
Before he returned, security services said that if he ever were to re-enter the UK, “there is a real risk that he would undertake activity on behalf of the GRU [Russian military intelligence]”.
After the GRU’s poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018, the security services wanted to stop Russian intelligence from gaining traction in the UK, the government said to the court.
The refugee departed Afghanistan in 2021, during Operation Pitting
C2 was stripped of British citizenship in 2019 after M15 suggested he was an agent for the GRU
C2 was granted asylum in 2000, after claiming he was fleeing from the Taliban, The Times reports.
However, he then relocated to Russia where he lived for six years, which he did not disclose to UK officials out of fear that he would be deported.
During a hearing before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), it was revealed that he had access to “top secret” documents while working for the British Government in Britain and Afghanistan.
He also claims he worked with David Cameron and Gordon Brown and met the then-Prince Charles and Prince William.
C2 claims he worked for GCHQ, MI6, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office (stock pic)
The court was told that he began working as a self-employed interpreter for public bodies including the police, courts and Home Office, before he moved to Afghanistan to work for the Foreign Office in the late 2000s.
He later went on to work in his native county for various roles which involved him having to visit Russia numerous times.
The court heard he had passed cash bribes to two Russian military attaches which he later found out were GRU operatives.
C2 also admitted to meeting an official in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He said they often chatted, adding: “He had sent me and I had sent him naked pictures of women.”
He has rejected any claims of being a spy and states that he never suspected two men he met at an embassy party to be Russian intelligence officers.
“Afghanistan was at war… From diplomats to troops, all the way up and down, everyone was fishing for information and knowledge,” he said.