A daredevil UK student has come under fire for traveling to Afghanistan last week looking for “risk” — forcing the British Army to evacuate him in the midst of the country’s deadly chaos.
Miles Routledge, 21, told The Spectator that he picked the troubled nation to travel to after doing a Google search for “most dangerous countries to visit” — arriving Friday even though he was aware of the Taliban’s insurgency.
“I like risk,” the student from Birmingham told The Times of London, saying he had previously been to the site of the 1986 Russian nuclear-power disaster in Chernobyl and also hoped to visit North Korea.
“I hate lying around on a beach, so I wanted to do something a little bit different,” he said, adding that Afghanistan “looked quite nice, the food seemed amazing, and it was dirt cheap.
“I was under the impression that the country wouldn’t fall for another month, so I thought it was going to be fine,” he told the outlet, initially sharing smiling selfies while posing with high-powered weapons.
But he soon started seeing bodies pile up in the streets against the backdrop of gunfire and was stopped from entering Kabul airport by Taliban forces when he tried to flee the country, he claimed during regular updates on 4Chan.
“I’m stuck in Afghanistan. Bit of a pickle,” he said in one update, admitting to the UK Times that he had “bitten off more than I can chew.
“I kind of just thought, I’m going to be killed by the Taliban,” he said, informing his online followers that he’d been “fully prepared for death, I accepted it.”
Routledge claimed to have been first protected at a NATO-controlled safe house in Kabul before on posting video of him Tuesday on a packed military plane.
“The happy ending: landed in Dubai thanks to the brilliant people at the British Army. All safe!” he wrote in an update.
He was then transferred to a plane back to the UK, where he is currently quarantining in a hotel, he told Business Insider on Wednesday.
Routledge’s tale initially drew skepticism, especially when one of his friends described him to The Telegraph as a “massive attention-seeker.”
But Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office confirmed to The Independent that Routledge had been in Afghanistan.
“We are working hard to contact all the British nationals we are aware of who remain in Afghanistan, to help them leave the country,” the government agency told the paper.
Loughborough University also confirmed on Twitter that it was “aware of reports that one of our students is currently in Afghanistan” and had been “in touch,” offering support.
Routledge initially said he had no regrets — but by Wednesday afternoon, most of his earlier social media posts had been removed, as he was ripped for his fool-hardy “adventure.”
“Rescuing him means someone else can’t be, whether that’s an Afghan refugee or a British employee or journalist,” @0ldoini tweeted. “He’s condemned someone else to death purely so he could brag about going to a warzone on 4chan.”
Someone else called him a “moron,” writing, “Imagine thinking its cool to go to a war torn country – it’s not a bloody amusement park.
“Easy for him when he can get out, not so much for the poor people who live there… Should have left him there and given his seat to some poor woman or child,” the writer said.
Other people said he “should be ashamed” and “made to pay back the full costs of his evacuation.”
Routledge had earlier admitted in some of his interviews that it was idiotic to have taken the trip.
“I knew the risks, it was a gamble I took that went wrong despite my confidence and jokes,” he told the UK Times.