Ireland’s Afghan community unite in protest against Taliban

Ireland’s Afghan community unite in protest against Taliban

HUNDREDS of protestors assembled outside the GPO in Dublin yesterday afternoon, united in their opposition to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Placards could be seen condemning the return of the illiberal government and their denial of women’s rights.

The protestors were made up of Ireland’s Afghan community, many of whom came to Ireland following the Taliban first seizing power in the 1990s.

Beshta Bakhshi, who emigrated to Ireland as child when the Taliban were first in power, told RTE: "Women in Afghanistan, in a week they have been stripped of their rights for education, right to freedom and right to work.

"Everything they built over the last two decades has been taken away in a week from them. And we have no government, no supporting body to back us up. All this hard work that they worked for over twenty years has been taken away by a minority group."

He went on to tell the Irish Times: “I may sound Irish and act Irish but my skin and blood will always be Afghan and I am here to protest for the Afghan people.

“My message is for the females of Afghanistan, please keep strong and don’t stop now. Please keep your strikes up and we are with you. We condemn the brutality [towards] females.”

Protestors have urged the Irish government not to recognise the new Taliban government and to use its seat on the UN Security Council, which it has until 2022, to pressurise them to adopt a more liberal interpretation of Islamic law.

While their ideology is the same, experts have noted that the new Taliban is less consolidated than the former organisation, resulting in regional varieties.

Despite its medieval ideology, the Taliban has technological capabilities not possessed by its predecessor organisation at the outset of the US invasion in 2001.

Monitoring of internet communications has made it harder for Irish-Afghans to keep in touch with their relatives at home, as IP addresses can be tracked, often making such contact too risky.

Bakhshi said: "They have this new technology where they can ping IP addresses, as they do here now, they have locations for people and we have limited contact with them."

Fighting has continued in the Panjshir, a mountainous part of North-Eastern Afghanistan where National Resistance Front maintains a presence. The group told the New York Times the fight is “far from over.”

The organisers of the Dublin protests have called for international intervention to stop Taliban attacks in Panjshir, which they describe as genocide.

They are also asking the Government to make the process for visas easier as many forms typically required in applications are not available to Afghan refugees.