A group of about two dozen demonstrators, most of them Afghans who live in Iceland, turned out in front of Parliament yesterday afternoon to implore the Icelandic government to rescue as many Afghans as possible from the country, RÚV reports. Many of the participants still have family members in Afghanistan, and they fear for their safety now that the country has fallen to the Taliban. The government announced today, 10 days from the fall of Kabul, that they would be accepting up to 120 Afghans from the country.
“When you’re not safe in your own country, you don’t chose to go anywhere else but to a country that chooses you,” Ali Reza, one participant at the demonstration, told Kjarninn. “Everywhere where people offer you shelter, the opportunity to live another life and survive—that’s where you go.”
Ali asks that people have some sympathy for the situation that many Afghans are now in.
“If your brother or mother were in hiding from the Taliban, wouldn’t you want the Icelandic government to rescue them?,” he says. “Afghan-Icelanders have relatives in Afghanistan and are demanding that the government get their relatives out of the country. Many Afghan-Icelanders came here as refugees, and their families are in danger due to the Taliban, because of their political beliefs, gender or religion.”
Today, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told reporters that the Icelandic government will be bringing in up to 120 Afghans from the country, Vísir reports.
This operation will take place with multiple approaches. The government intends to bring in those who worked for or with NATO forces, especially those who worked with Icelandic peacekeeping forces. Also, former students from Afghanistan at the UN University in Iceland, along with their spouses and children, will be brought in. In addition, the Icelandic government will assist those who have the right to family reunification, or who have residence permits but cannot travel on their own, with coming to Iceland—this pertains to both individuals who have family connections in Iceland and individuals who intend to study in Iceland. Further, applications for family reunification from Afghans living in Iceland will be prioritised and expedited.
The decision comes some 10 days since the fall of Kabul to Taliban forces. How long this process will take remains to be seen, but could take many days or even weeks.
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