A barmy Brit tourist who travels to danger zones for fun called the Taliban’s Afghanistan a safe haven while waxing lyrical about their control over the country.
Miles Routledge, a former physics student at Loughborough University, said he settled on Afghanistan last summer after Googling “most dangerous countries to visit” and picking the top entry.
Despite the evacuation, the 22-year-old, who funds his trips with money from his loyal subscribers, went back to the country after crossing from Peshawar, Pakistan.
He’s now back in the UK, but while posting from Kabul earlier this month, he was accused of becoming too tightly affiliated with the Taliban, who have de facto control of Afghanistan.
And indeed, in the now surfaced clip of him on Afghan TV he waxed lyrical about the country and the “security” offered by the Taliban government.
Speaking to a presenter for Barya TV, an Islamic channel, Miles said: “I came to Afghanistan when the Taliban took the country back in August, but I decided to come back. I heard very good things about the security, the people and it felt safer than ever.
“So I thought, i’ll visit this wonderful nation.”
“You’re getting way too comfy with those people,” wrote one critic referencing the Taliban, after Routledge announced last week that he had blagged his way onto Afghan TV.
And the avid Christian took the opportunity to praise the controversial armed group after the presenter asked him in broken English: “Taliban is very nice?”
“Very nice!” he responded, adding: “They offered me food, offered me drinks, sometimes they think I’m a local, they think I’m from the northern territories. I’ve had more issues at home with security than I have in Afghanistan, it’s very safe.”
After the presenter mentioned that Afghans are poor, Miles said: “The security is tough but it’s to keep us all safe from other threats as the new government sorts out everything and makes us stronger.”
“I would live here if the houses in Kabul weren’t a little bit expensive,” he added.
He previously told the Daily Star that the international community should “help them [the Taliban] succeed in creating a better government rather than tearing them down to create more instability”.
He also got very friendly with some, even “having tea” with Taliban fighters after accidentally strolling into their compound.
He called them “kind” and despite receiving criticism online, he told the Daily Star that he’s just calling it like he sees it.
“Well, If I go somewhere and don’t like the government or people, I’ll flat out say it like I do with Birmingham,” he said.
According to Amnesty International, the Taliban commit war crimes by targeting civilians, including killing teachers, abducting aid workers and burning school buildings.
However, Miles still thinks they’re “kind blokes”.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.