A Sydney man desperately tries to get visas for his two sisters, who are hiding in Kabul and among thousands trying to reach Australia.
“If the Taliban hear about us or find us, they will kill us,” a woman said by telephone from the Afghan capital.
She and her sister have been hiding in a single room in Kabul for the past week, fearing for their lives.
A Sydney man desperately tries to obtain visas for his two sisters who are hiding in fear in Kabul (Photo: First Australian citizens and visa holders to arrive in Perth from Afghanistan)
The sisters are special targets for the Taliban because they are unmarried, educated and have worked with a Western NGO.
They fled Mazar-e-Sharif two days before the Taliban rampaged through that city, but, like so many others, when Kabul fell in mid-August, they had nowhere to run.
That’s the risk, AAP chose not to mention them.
The sisters’ lifeline is on the other side of the world – their brother in Sydney, who was born in Afghanistan and became an Australian citizen.
The sisters have been targeted by the Taliban because they are unmarried, educated and have worked with a Western NGO (Photo: Taliban fighters patrol a street in Kabul)
“I can’t sleep at night, I’ve tried everything… I’m sure DFAT is flat, but I’m terrified,” he told AAP.
“They’re not safe anywhere in Afghanistan, they’re single, young and they work.”
In addition to submitting applications to the foreign ministry, he has reached out to MPs from both sides of politics in a desperate bid to get visas.
Labor MPs have referred about 3,000 people to the immigration minister in recent weeks, most of them from Afghan families with direct ties to Australia.
Some have been waiting up to four years for their visas to be processed, said a member of parliament.
The government has pledged to receive 3,000 refugees from war-torn Afghanistan within a year.
On Wednesday, Scott Morrison said Australia will take people out of Afghanistan “for many years.”
“We will work together to give as many people as possible the chance to have a new life in Australia,” he said.
During a nine-day Australian mission, 4,100 citizens, permanent residents and visa holders were evacuated from Afghanistan
A nine-day Australian mission has transported about 4,100 citizens, permanent residents and visa holders by air, but Australia ended evacuation efforts last week.
In total, about 122,000 people were evacuated from Kabul when the Taliban came to power, coinciding with the departure of Western troops from Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Marise Payne has said the next steps will be very difficult for those left behind.
“There is absolutely no doubt about the danger and challenge presented to those who are left behind,” she said.
Secretary of State Marise Payne has said the next steps would be very challenging for those left behind (Photo: Damage caused at the site of an attack near Kabul International Airport)
“I feel very much for the Australians, their relatives and those they would very much like to support who remain in Afghanistan.”
The brother said that now that the evacuation flights have ended, he feels hopeless.
“We didn’t have a chance … I don’t know at all what will happen from here,” he said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been asked to comment on the family’s case.
The brother feels hopeless as the evacuation flights have ended and doesn’t know what will happen (Photo: Afghans on top of plane at airport as they desperately tried to flee the city)