'Snatched' boys found in Afghanistan and reunited with UK mother

The family, from Yorkshire, cannot be named for legal reasons

Three boys have been reunited with their mother in the UK, 17 months after being taken by their father and left with distant relatives in Afghanistan.

They were discovered by local police in a northern area of Afghanistan after being traced by US lawyer, Kim Motley.

The boys, aged 18 months, four and eight were handed over to Ms Motley after close co-operation with Britain's National Crime Agency.

The family, from Yorkshire, cannot be named for legal reasons.

'Good experience'

After being removed by police, the boys were taken care of by Ms Motley for two days in Kabul - while emergency passports were processed. They were then taken back to the UK by the lawyer.

Ms Motley, who works in Afghanistan and has three children of her own, has specialised in cases involving foreigners tangled up in Afghan law.

She told the BBC she had been pleased to work on the case and was undaunted by the long journey back to the UK.

"I don't mind a few hours of crying in a plane," she said.

The head of the Afghan police unit dealing with the case, Abdul Awab Aziz, said "it had been a very good experience" because it was very unusual for cases of this sort to be resolved.

He produced documents at Kabul airport for Ms Motley to sign - effectively a "receipt" for the boys.

The children were reunited with their mother in a private room at Manchester Airport, where they ran up and hugged her upon arrival.

Support each other

Their mother, who cannot be named, told the BBC she had all but given up hope of seeing them again.

"It's overwhelming and exciting that I've got them, but to think that last week I had messaged my solicitor saying that I didn't think I'd get them back," she said.

The youngest boy was just six weeks old when he was taken to Afghanistan along with his now four-year-old brother.

As the only one who speaks English, the eldest boy talks to them in the Afghan language, Dari.

While waiting to leave Afghanistan, he was contacted on the phone by the relatives he had been living with, and it is thought he was told negative things about his mother.

Ms Motley said: "They're [the boys] very close to one another, and they're still very connected to the people who abducted them, which often happens to people who are abducted."

But she added that the way the boys supported each other would help them to get through the situation.

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