The local impact of the Afghanistan crisis

Carlton resident Fahima Iria was a long way from home when she heard the news of the Taliban’s take-over of her birthplace in Afghanistan.

The 52-year-old interpreter moved from Kabul in 1998 in search of a more secure life, and was alerted to the take over from a friend’s post on Facebook.

“I checked Facebook and found out the Taliban had taken over, I was shocked,” Ms Iria said.

For her 10 family members who still remain in Kabul, there has already been a host of changes to their everyday life.

And despite wanting to be with them, Ms Iria said the government made that near impossible.

“There’s already lots of changes, women are locked in and can’t go outside without a hijab, there is no working, lots of issues in Afghanistan,” Ms Iria said.

“It’s not easy to come to Australia, so at the moment they are staying there.”

To help with the crisis, the Australian Government has pledged to offer asylum to 3000 Afghan nationals by June next year.

This is in comparison to the 40,000 Canada and Britain will take in, and the 33,000 the US has committed to accommodate.

Ms Iria said that the Australian Government’s response wasn’t good enough.

“My feeling is not positive. There are about 35 million people in Afghanistan and they’ve chosen to evacuate only 3000 for humanitarian reasons. What about the rest?” Ms Iria said.

 

For 40 years NATO and western governments were involved directly and indirectly in Afghanistan so they should be helping the Afghan people to create peace instead of withdrawing all help.

 

Ms Iria said that some of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statements showed he did not appreciate the nuance of the conflict.

“I heard the Australian Prime Minister say that Afghanistan is always fighting each other, and this statement hurt me and other Afghans a lot,” she said.

“The west created the conflict and made people fight each other, most people are peaceful.”

Although stability will be hard to attain, Ms Iria said that to help people in Afghanistan the best thing to do is to call on the government to consult with Afghans themselves.

“Right now, it’s hard to fundraise and transfer money to people, so people should put pressure on the Australian government to talk to people from Afghanistan and consult them in their decisions,” she said.

“That’s the best way to help.” •

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