The ECAJ condemns Taliban takeover

August 17, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has deplored the forcible take-over of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Peter Wertheim

“We join with our friends in the Afghan community in Australia in expressing profound concern about the future safety and welfare of members of their families and friends from whom they are already receiving reports of Taliban atrocities, including executions, mass rapes and forced marriages of young women and girls,” said ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim.

“The return of Afghanistan to the barbarism of Taliban rule which benighted the country in the 1990s is especially ominous for Afghanis who have worked with Australian and other western governments and organisations as translators, security and support staff, NGO workers and journalists. Members of religious minorities are also at grave risk, including the many Shia members of the Hazara community.”

“We urge the Australian government to give priority to the evacuation of all people whose lives are at grave risk, including all of these groups and others who are likely targets of the Taliban.”

Noting that many people are now at risk from hunger and lack of shelter due to their forced displacement, Wertheim said that the ECAJ is also calling for Australian aid to the region to be extended to support programs to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, to support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan

The ECAJ also called for Afghans who are already living in Australia on a temporary basis to be allowed to stay if they wish to do so. “None of them should be forced to return to Afghanistan against their will or face the constant fear of forced return,” Wertheim said.

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“The calamity that has befallen the Afghan nation will not be confined to the borders of Afghanistan. Violent Islamist extremists the world over, including those who have now been released from prison in Afghanistan, will exult in the Taliban victory, be fortified in their sense of certainty in the ultimate victory of their evil cause and will find renewed motivation to commit acts of murder and mayhem. A world that is grappling to cope with a pandemic now faces another deadly source of instability.”

In the meantime, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Migrant Services and  Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said: “No Afghan visa holder currently in Australia will be asked to return to Afghanistan while the security situation there remains dire. Afghan citizens currently in Australia on temporary visas will be supported by the Australian Government.

The Australian Government has granted more than 8,500 visas to Afghans under Australia’s humanitarian program since 2013.

This includes over 1,800 visas to Afghan Locally Engaged Employees and their families at risk of harm due to their employment in support of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan.

Since 15 April 2021, the Australian Government has granted over 640 visas to Afghan LEE and their families with more than 430 people having arrived in Australia since that date.

Australia has supported local staff who supported us in Afghanistan via the LEE program, commenced in 2013. The Australian Government is processing applications from Afghan LEE at the highest priority.

Australia will continue to meet our international humanitarian obligations with our generous humanitarian and resettlement program which is flexible and available to address crises in our region.

Comments

2 Responses to “The ECAJ condemns Taliban takeover”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    It was more a walk over when the Afghan government was proven to be useless as well as corrupt.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    300,000 service members in the well equipped Afghan National Army and 70,000 Taliban, go figure !! 20 years ago the USA and allies should never have invaded Afghanistan. Bush, Blair and Howard were misinformed, over confident and just plain stupid from a military prospective, The Afghans have never been conquered foe long be it by Alexanders the Great, Colonial Britain, Soviet Union and now the American losers.

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