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UK News

Police alerted to ‘suspicious activity’ on Taliban supporter’s farm near nuclear navy base

today08/10/2021

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Residents living near a nuclear submarine base in Scotland have alerted police to suspicious activity on land rented by a Taliban supporter.

Waheed Totakhyl once publicly called for the death of US soldiers in Afghanistan, and has a brother currently serving as a military commander with the Taliban in Kabul.

He leases Aldonaig Farm, situated four miles from HMNB Clyde. Also known as Faslane, the base on Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute is where the Royal Navy house the UK stockpile of nuclear submarines.

Waheed Totakhyl says the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has left it 'safer than Europe'
Image: Waheed Totakhyl rents land near to where the Royal Navy store the UK’s nuclear submarines

Ministry of Defence police were contacted by local residents in August, who witnessed behaviour on Aldonaig farm which they regarded as suspicious.

They reported that on 10 August, eight men turned up in two cars and left after around 20 minutes. Residents who were present say the men claimed to be Afghan nationals who had travelled from London.

One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Sky News: “Of course, there may be absolutely nothing to worry about.

“However, look at the circumstances of this and the geography. The farm is next door to one of the country’s most sensitive military sites.

More on Afghanistan

“We’re being given new warnings of a terrorist threat, and now we learn that the tenant at Aldonaig supports the Taliban, with a brother who’s a commander.

“I think when you join the dots, the least we could do was to pass on our concerns. The fleeting appearance of these young males, having travelled from London, was very odd.”

Waheed Totakhyl VT GRABS
Image: Mr Totakhyl leases Aldonaig Farm, four miles from HMNB Clyde where the Royal Navy house the UK’s nuclear submarines

The farm overlooks the Gare Loch, a stretch of water used by naval traffic travelling to and from the base, and also overlooks accommodation used by naval personnel in the village of Rhu.

George Freeman, an independent councillor on the local Argyll & Bute Council, told Sky News he was aware of concerns among people living nearby.

“We’re sitting right next door to Faslane and Coulport just over the hill,” he said. “The nation’s nuclear deterrent is here, so it’s a very sensitive area.

“The fact that we have individuals here who admit supporting the Taliban, then they are asking questions: ‘Is nobody in the security services, do they not have concerns?’

“So far, we just can’t get an answer on that.”

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How popular is the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Mr Totakhyl, who is the last-registered chairman of the Scottish Afghan Society, insists he is not a danger and says he rents the land because he “likes to be a farmer”.

When Sky News put the residents’ concerns to him, he said that he had, indeed, hosted visits to Aldonaig farm by Afghan nationals from around the UK.

He disputed that any such event took place on 10 August, but says he was visited on 12 June by fellow members of Afghanistan’s Hezb e Islami party.

It is led by Gulbuddin Helmatyar, a notorious Afghan warlord dubbed the “Butcher of Kabul”, who has pledged his support for the recent Taliban takeover.

Waheed Totakhyl has this picture on his office wall of him meeting Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, aka the 'Butcher of Kabul'
Image: Waheed Totakhyl has this picture on his office wall of him meeting Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, aka the ‘Butcher of Kabul’

Mr Totakhyl told Sky News: “My friends visit me from Birmingham, London. They came this year just to visit me and talk about the situation in Afghanistan.”

Asked if he understood the concern around the meeting taking place so close to the Faslane base, he said: “Yes, but we didn’t have a meeting about Britain or Scotland.

“We were talking about Afghanistan, what was going to happen in Afghanistan and how can we help the people of Afghanistan from the UK.”

He added: “I rent [the farm] because I like to be a farmer and enjoy the weather… of Scotland. I never done wrong in the UK. Whatever I’ve done, this is for my people, for my country.”

The concerns of local residents were reported to Ministry of Defence police at the Faslane base itself, and the information was passed to Police Scotland.

When approached by Sky News, Police Scotland declined to comment.

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How did the Taliban pay for the takeover?

Mr Totakhyl came to the UK from Afghanistan in 2001 and settled in the west of Scotland.

He owns a takeaway shop which once sold Osama Bin Laden pizzas.

A photo on his Facebook feed, taken in Afghanistan, shows him holding a rifle in the company of armed men.

He told Sky News it was taken during a visit to Bagram jail to visit his brother before he was released to take up his current position as Taliban commander, and the armed men accompanying him were bodyguards from the Hezb e Islami party.

Waheed Totakhyl VT GRABS
Image: A photo on Mr Totakhyl’s Facebook feed shows him (second from right) holding a rifle in the company of armed men in Afghanistan

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In 2018, Mr Totakhyl was arrested for his part in a protest at a Home Office building in Glasgow, in support of two asylum seekers on hunger strike.

And in September he faced calls for his deportation from Afghan refugees newly arrived in Glasgow over his continued support for the Taliban.

He previously told Sky News that, since the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is “safer than Europe”.

Earlier this year, fire crews were called out to deal with a number of hill fires at Aldonaig farm and prevent them burning out of control.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute council told Sky News: “We are aware of some local concerns and understand that the individual has been spoken to with regard to environmental damage caused by muir burning.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today08/10/2021