From Iceland — Refugee Urges Iceland To Save Afghan People

Refugee Urges Iceland To Save Afghan People

Published August 16, 2021

John Pearson
Photo by
Sayed Khanoghli

An Afghan refugee has urged the Icelandic government to take action regarding the emerging humanitarian crisis in his home country.

In the lead up to the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan next month, the Taliban—an Islamic group which aims to impose its strict interpretation of Sharia law across the country—has been on the offensive. Government forces have been beaten back, and Taliban forces are now reported to have taken the capital Kabul.

Sayed Khanoghli, a 20-year-old Afghan who came to Iceland as a refugee in 2018, has voiced his concern about his home country and its people—and the fact that the Afghan government seems to have simply folded in the face of the onslaught.

“In one week, the Taliban have taken over 30 provinces without any clashes. The authorities have stopped fighting and seem to have given up,” he told Fréttablaðið. A democracy will turn into a totalitarian state in an instant.”

Sayed has worked with Amnesty International since settling in Iceland, and is particularly concerned about the potential fate of Afghanistan’s women.

“In every city they have taken, the Taliban have asked families to flag young girls in the home,” Sayed said. He believes this is done so that Taliban members can more easily get married.

As reports emerge of Kabul residents flocking to the city’s airport in a desperate attempt to escape, Sayed urges countries around the world to help those seeking refuge from the Taliban. In particular, he wants his adopted homeland to step up and play its part.

“If Iceland can receive even just 20 families, then it is possible to secure a future for those people,” he said.

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