Afghan student in Ireland ‘terrified’ for sister’s life after husband worked with US forces

ireland
Afghan Student In Ireland ‘Terrified’ For Sister’s Life After Husband Worked With Us Forces
Hamed Safa, from Afghanistan, pictured today in Limerick. He has been resident in Limerick for the past four years, having secured asylum. Photo: David Raleigh.
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David Raleigh

Hamed Safa sits outside a cafe in Limerick city watching the continuing news coverage on his mobile phone of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, where he grew up, and later fled the threat of war.

The restaurant worker and University of Limerick marketing student, who fled Afghanistan in 2010 after “suicide bombers” destroyed his community, said he is “terrified” for family members left trapped in the country.

His sister and her family are desperately seeking a way out, but are currently unable to leave as members of the Taliban, who claim to be no threat, walk the streets with machine guns.

The scenes at Kabul Airport of US troop carriers departing with Afghans desperately clinging to the undercarriage of the planes have left Mr Safa dumbfounded, and asking “why did (the US) leave so suddenly”.

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Watching people walk by the cafe on Limerick’s O’Connell Street, he is “thankful” to be safe, but is “frightened” for his loved ones back home.

‘The Taliban are playing a game’

“This is a world away from what’s happening in my country, why did the US leave so quickly, why,” he says, shaking his head.

“It’s scary, even the name Taliban is violence, it’s a terrible moment for Afghanistan. My family back home are all in shock.

“I know people are saying the Taliban are not a threat, but they are just playing a game. I have seen it myself. It’s impossible what they are saying, how they are trying to show themselves on the television and on newspapers.

Her husband was working supplying fuel, petroleum, to the American forces, so we don't know what will happen next

“There is no word to describe how violent and harsh they can be to people. We are just waiting to see what will happen next.

“My sister is scared and she doesn't know what is going on. Her husband was working supplying fuel, petroleum, to the American forces, so we don't know what will happen next, when the Taliban completely take over the government.”

Safety in Ireland

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Mr Safa, (30), who was born in Ghazni, later growing up in Kabul, said he is desperately trying to lobby politicians to help him rescue his sister and other family members to bring them to safety in Ireland.

“I’ve sent an email to all the government departments. I’m trying to bring (my family) over. I tried to contact the NGOs, and I got an email from the TD Willie O’Dea, who’s trying to help me,” he said.

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Number of Irish citizens seeking to leave Afghanis...
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“My sister has two kids. The way the US left Afghanistan and the way (President) Biden said it is not his problem anymore, I don’t know how this all happened in the last couple of weeks.”

Mr Safa says the scenes of people falling from a US military plane after it took off from Kabul airport are proof, if needed, of “how scared and shocked” people are of the Taliban.

“They are just trying their luck to be alive, just trying to get out of there, even one person chance of living they would try it.”

Limerick-based migrant rights group Doras has said it supports a joint letter from NGOs, refugee and asylum groups sent to the Government welcoming its “initial commitment to offer 150 people humanitarian admission to Ireland” as the unfolding crisis continues in Afghanistan.

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