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People of Afghanistan ‘don’t want to go back 20 years’

WHILE he has received refugee status and now lives in Ennis, former journalist Sayed Farid Sanai is very worried about his family left behind in an unstable Afghanistan, while he fears any progress made since the toppling of the Taliban 20 years ago could be very quickly undone.
Two years ago he made it to Europe, but he knows something of the dread of the hundreds of people desparately seeking to make it out of Afghanistan this week.
Farid’s son and wife are still in Afghanistan, and with an application having been made to the Irish Department of Justice, he is hopeful they will be allowed to come here soon.
“Three months ago I applied for my family, I sent all of the details to the section in the Department of Justice, I’m still waiting for the process. They said it takes time, now it’s an emergency, but I don’t know how long it will take.”
He says that he prays they will be okay and will be able to get out, but along with them, his brothers, sisters and mother are still there. “I hope it doesn’t affect them, and I’d like to find a way out for them.”
On Tuesday, when he spoke with The Champion, the Taliban were telling the world that the regime would be less brutal than what Afghans remember, but Farid was cynical about it.
“I saw the Afghan media today, it said that the Afghan people who worked for foreign governments won’t have a problem, that the Taliban said people can continue to work, that they don’t have a problem with anyone, but they should obey, follow the Islamic rule. But I don’t know, I don’t know.
“We have to see what they will do in the future. I, myself, I can’t trust these people to be honest. They are saying people can work, go out, go to school. But at the end of the day their ideology is different.
“I’m an educated person, I studied for many years and I can’t accept their rule and their policy. Let’s see if it’s the old Taliban or if its changed.
“I hope they’ve changed and they come in peace. But if they have, why did they kill thousands of Afghan soliers and innocent people during the war over 20 years.
“Why wasn’t there peace earlier? They came to Kabul by force and they took other provinces by force.”
Thirty three years old now, he spent some time away from Afghanistan in his youth also, but still has memories of the brutality of life under the Taliban.
“It was a very dark time. There was no education, no respect, their beliefs are totally different. Lots of people left Afghanistan.
“I hope we’re not facing that kind of life again and we don’t go back. I, myself and the Afghan people, we don’t want to go back 20 years or 100 years back. It was a really dark time.”
In Afghanistan the huge numbers of people desperately trying to leave their own country shows how fearful they are of what the future holds, and Farid feels that advances made since 2001 could quickly be rolled back.
“If they follow the same policy it means that everything that we did in 20 years, the education system and everything, it’ll be gone.”
Farid was in Dublin for some of this week, doing work for RTÉ News, having been a well-known broadcaster back in Afghanistan before having to flee. In an article he wrote for the national broadcaster this week, he called for the international community not to turn away from his native country.
“It scares me to think of the Taliban coming back and stopping girls from being educated and working outside the home.
“The Taliban have to meet the standards of the 21st century and accept the demands of the younger generation. But the current oppression by the Taliban in Afghanistan worries me.
“They are much more dangerous than before. It is hard to imagine that man is so cruel and dangerous. They do not live in 2021. Their thoughts and ideology are not compatible with any religion. The world should not leave Afghanistan alone.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.