Live desk: Tory party activist who trained with the SAS accuses Russia of trashing her reputation by using online attacks to cast doubt on her story
Azi Ahmed had told how she turned her back on an arranged marriage at the age of 26 to train with the elite squad as an ‘experiment’.
The 45-year-old Tory activist chronicled her attempt to join 21 SAS, the reserve regiment of the unit, in her book Worlds Apart: A Muslim Girl with the SAS.
Miss Ahmed wrote: ‘I was undergoing gruelling training to join the Army. And not just any regiment, either, but the most elite of all – the SAS, who were preparing me to become one of their first female reservists.’ But last month Russia Today, a state-funded broadcaster, published an online article disputing some of her claims and she faced a torrent of online abuse.
Now Miss Ahmed, who stood in Rochdale in the 2015 election, has questioned why the article appeared on the same day Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – whom she introduced at last year’s Tory conference – announced a crackdown on Russian cyber attacks.
Yesterday Miss Ahmed, who served with the Territorial Army from 1999 until 2002, said: ‘I’ve never claimed to have carried the same weight as the men, I’ve never written anything about live firing … I never did it.’
But a passage in her book tells of overhearing other recruits describing her as ‘a tick in the box’. It went on: ‘How dare they? I was going through the same s*** as them.
‘Carrying the same weight; I was half the size they were … and not once had I moaned.’
The Manchester-born internet entrepreneur, who hopes to stand in the 2020 election, yesterday said the military scrapped the experiment before she completed training and that it was never explicitly confirmed she would become an SAS reservist. She said the most hurtful thing about the online abuse has been that it has come from ‘Army people’, especially as she is donating the proceeds from her book to veteran charity, Care After Combat.
Dhaka, 20 March, (campuslive24.com) //AM