‘I’m scared, as an educated girl’: Irish visa holder trapped in Kabul

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‘I’m Scared, As An Educated Girl’: Irish Visa Holder Trapped In Kabul
Hundreds of people gather near a plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, © AP/Press Association Images
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Vivienne Clarke

An Afghan woman who holds a visa for Ireland has spoken of her fears now that the Taliban has taken over the country.

The woman, who is one of 50 the Department of Justice has given visas to enter Ireland because they are deemed to be under threat, could not get out of Kabul as she could not access the airport.

She told RTÉ radio’s News at One that her efforts to get to the airport were not successful, amid the rush to evacuate thousands from the country.

Leaving by land, as had been suggested, was not a possibility, she said as the border with Pakistan was now closed and she did not have a visa to enter neighbouring Iran or Kazakhstan. She has visas for both Ireland and Turkey.

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“I’m scared, as an educated girl I have worked with the US and with other European NGOs. I would be left at home by the Taliban. I would have no job, they would not let me do anything,” she said.

“I am very worried about my future.

“I don’t know what will happen to me.”

Spiralling

Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan today called on Government officials to continue efforts to ensure safe passage for refugees fleeing Afghanistan, saying the situation was “spiralling into a humanitarian catastrophe”.

“These are people whose prior work or activism makes them targets for Taliban brutality,” she said.

“We are hearing of countless Afghan citizens, even those with documentation, currently in hiding, unable to get through dangerous roads, with multiple Taliban checkpoints, to reach Kabul airport and get on evacuation flights.

One of three charter evacuation planes with 345 seats departed from Kabul yesterday with only 50 passengers

“Planes are waiting for them but the window is rapidly shutting down. One of three charter evacuation planes with 345 seats departed from Kabul yesterday with only 50 passengers.

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“It’s unforgivable in an already horrific situation. Add to this, yesterday’s reports of explosions in the vicinity of the airport and you have a chaotic, life-threatening situation.”

The MEP acknowledged the importance of evacuating Irish citizens from Afghanistan but called on the Irish Government to broaden their priorities to include Afghan citizens who have worked with national and overseas NGOs, or on national efforts in Afghanistan to progress democracy.

“Ireland has committed to give refuge to 150 Afghan nationals under the Refugee Protection Programme, but this is simply not enough and doesn’t honour the pledge we made when we signed up to the overarching principle of the Sustainable Development Goals to ‘Leave No One Behind.’

“It’s deeply alarming that at the moment, even documented people are finding it impossible to get to the airport in Kabul, safely.”

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