Efforts are being made to secure visas to enable a young family in hiding in Afghanistan to come to Ireland.
Samira and Hamed Naderi and their young son Zahid are hoping efforts by their Cork-based friend Joya Kuin to secure them a visa waiver and a place on the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, allowing them to come to Ireland, will be successful.
Ms Kuin is a fundraiser for the Afghan Women’s Network, through which she met and became friends with the couple as Hamed worked in human rights with the network before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August when US troops withdrew from the country.
Hamed says he is unaware of the whereabouts of some of his former colleagues in the network.
“It is rumours you hear about mostly,” he said. “It is hard to know who is in hiding and who has actually been taken by the Taliban, but yes, people are disappearing, and we hear about the Taliban going door-to-door to track down people who have worked in government, media, education and progressive organisations.”
Samira, who worked as a scientist, said the couple are afraid and have had to move three times since the takeover by the Taliban.
The Taliban intelligence network is strong and we can’t even trust our neighbours.
“We try to stay strong for Zahid but it is not easy. I manage to sneak out in a full burka every few days for essentials but this is not sustainable.”
Ms Kuin said she has contacted Irish politicians to secure support for the family and has also set up a petition to Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Justice Minister Helen McEntee.
“Samira and Hamed are terrified that the Taliban will discover them in their hiding place and that they will all be killed. It is just unthinkable,” she said.
“The family have had