MEP calls for focus on plight of 'vulnerable' Afghan women and girls

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Mep Calls For Focus On Plight Of 'Vulnerable' Afghan Women And Girls Mep Calls For Focus On Plight Of 'Vulnerable' Afghan Women And Girls
MEP Frances Fitzgerald says there needs to be a particular focus on the plight of women and girls in the country. Picture: Getty Images
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James Cox

A crisis meeting of EU foreign ministers will take place later to form a response to an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The UN says it has received “chilling reports” of human rights violations, since the Taliban takeover.

Meanwhile, Ireland is to take in up to 150 Afghan refugees through the country's protection programme.

The visas will mean they won't have to enter the direct provision system upon arriving here.

These 150 are in addition to 45 visas which were approved in recent days.

MEP Frances Fitzgerald says there needs to be a particular focus on the plight of women and girls in the country.

“The young girls and women are in a very vulnerable position given the Taliban's attitude to women, to education, to women's rights, to equality,” she said.

A woman yells for her family to hurry up as displaced Afghans from the northern provinces are evacuated from a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools on August 12th, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

“We know that many women are at risk right now and the international community has to reach out and take every action they possibly can to stress the importance of the safety of Afghan citizens.”

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Ms Fitzgerald also said she expects Ireland to take more refugees in time.

“I think that will be re-assessed, I'm sure that is a first response, but I think we need to take another look at family reunification, look at the Afghans here already who probably put in many months ago for family reunification. We need to take a fresh look at that as well and I have no doubt the numbers will need to be increased.”

Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne confirmed there is "no question" of anyone being deported to Afghanistan despite a number of deportation orders in place for Afghan nationals.

In a Twitter post, he wrote: “An Irish woman currently in Kabul says she is hopiIn line with Covid commitments, no deportation orders are currently being enforced. While there are a number of deportation orders in place for Afghan nationals there is no question of anyone being returned to Afghanistan given the current situation.ng she will be able to leave and return home in the next 48 hours.”

Aoife MacManus, from Ashbourne in Co Meath, has been in the Afghan city for two years working in the primary education sector. She is one of the small number of Irish citizens still in Afghanistan and trying to flee from the Taliban.

“There is a sense of panic and fear all over the city,” Ms MacManus told the PA news agency.

“This last 24 hours has been so crazy, I don’t know how many places I’ve been.”

Things are “chaotic” across the city, she said.

Senior US military officials say the chaos at the Kabul airport on Monday morning left seven people dead, including some who fell from a departing US military transport jet.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Afghans rushed onto the tarmac of the capital’s airport on Monday as thousands tried to flee the country after the Taliban seized power with stunning speed.

Afghan people sit as they wait to leave the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16th, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP)

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, and that the government’s collapse was quicker than anticipated.

Mr Biden said he was faced with a choice between sticking to a previously negotiated agreement to withdraw US troops this year or sending thousands more service members back into Afghanistan for a “third decade” of war.

Mr Biden said he will not repeat mistakes of the past and did not regret his decision to proceed with the withdrawal.

“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Mr Biden said in a televised address to the nation from the White House East Room.

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.”

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