Afghans who have taken refuge here fear for families under the Taliban

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Fear and foreboding pervade the Afghan community in Ireland after the Taliban took control of their homeland.

We are deeply worried and afraid of what will happen, ”said father of four Nasruddin Saljuqi (65), who arrived in Ireland as a refugee in October 2000.

“It’s very sad. We were a very civilized country, but now there is no law, no constitution, no president.

“People in Afghanistan know what’s going on better than we do, and many are selling their goods and trying to leave. “

Mr Saljuqi is President of the Afghan Community and Cultural Association of Ireland and works as an interpreter. Author of several books, he lives with his wife in Clonsilla, Dublin.

In the past he tried to help his brother, a medical specialist, get permission to live in Ireland, but to no avail. Now he is deeply concerned for the safety of his brother and other members of his family.

Dublin taxi driver Abdul Amiri fears the Taliban – they killed his father and uncle.

In the days following the entry of the insurgents into Kabul, Mr. Amiri was unable to drive because he was worried and anxious for those close to him in Afghanistan.

He was 12 years old when the taliban first seized power in 1996. His father was a wealthy landowner and local politician, aged 55. The Taliban came, took him away and killed him.

“The men who took him were a wild people,” he said.

The Taliban’s second coming to power brought death to his family again. This time, shortly before entering Kabul, members of the Taliban fired a rocket that killed his 68-year-old uncle, Sadar.

“When the Taliban first took control of our country, it was darkness. There was no freedom. Now we are afraid again, ”he said.

Abdul (37) lives with his wife and four children in Castleknock, Dublin. He wants the Irish authorities to allow his family members in Afghanistan to come here.

“My brother and my brother-in-law both worked for the government. They don’t feel safe now. I fear they will be targeted by the Taliban. I don’t believe there will be an amnesty, ”he said.

He is deeply concerned for the safety of his siblings and elderly mother.

“The last time I spoke to my brother on the phone he told me he was very worried about the future. He told me he didn’t feel safe. He has three sons.

“I haven’t spoken to him since the Internet connections were cut off by the Taliban. I’m afraid the Taliban will kill members of my family. I think anyone who has worked for the government will be treated like a criminal.

“There will be no freedom. I saw reports that the Taliban were beating local journalists. The media will no longer be free. If there is bad news against them, the Taliban will not allow it to be known.

“Here in Ireland I have freedom of speech and religion. They won’t have that in Afghanistan.

“This Taliban takeover means the whole world will be in danger again.”

Mr. Amiri was a teenager when he left Afghanistan in 2001 “to seek a better life”.

He spoke of spending months on the move, traveling at night through the mountains of Iran and Turkey, and crouching in boats as he made his way to Europe.

He arrived in England hidden in the back of a refrigerated truck filled with strawberries, grapes and other fruit.

Twelve years later he moved in Ireland, where he and his Afghan wife are happy. Their three youngest children were born here.

His friend Bilal Jalil (27) told the Independent Sunday he is extremely concerned for the safety of those close to him in the town of Maidan Shar, near Kabul.

Mr Jalil and his wife Lily have two children and he runs his own business selling handbags and cell phone accessories at his Cool Ireland store in Cork city center.

In a recent bombing in Afghanistan, her aunt and cousin were killed. Her brother is being treated in hospital for injuries to his hands and legs.

He worries about his parents, sisters and brothers and wants them to safety in Ireland.

“I am told that everyone has been staying at home since the Taliban took over. Schools are closed. It is very dangerous now. Life will be worse for them, ”he said.

Known in Cork as Billy, he has been living in Ireland since 2016 and has said he is getting a Cork accent. He left Afghanistan “to try to have a better future”.

Mr. Jalil remembers his long trip to Ireland as “a very difficult time”, crossing Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy and France.

He worked in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant in Limerick before moving to Cork and applied for Irish citizenship.

As a child he remembers seeing American soldiers for the first time as they drove tanks through the streets.

It is difficult, he said, to accept that they have withdrawn from his country and left him in a very dangerous place.

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