Australia has a moral duty to the people of Afghanistan

Oct 22, 2021
Taliban patrol Kabul Afghanistan
A Taliban patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, in September 2021. (Image: EPA)

As home to the fourth largest population of Hazaras in the world, Australia has a responsibility to protect the Hazaras in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have started demolishing homes of the Hazaras in Mazar e Sharif and warned thousands of people to leave their houses.

They have also started eviction proceedings in the Helmand province.

The Taliban are following the policies of their ancestors in ethnically cleansing the Hazaras from Afghanistan and distributing their lands among their own people, just as Abdul Rahman did in the 1880s.

The most recent indication of this came just on October 8, the same day Australia forces joined the war in 2001, when at least 150 people — mostly Hazaras – were killed and many others injured in a suicide attack on a mosque in the Sayed Abad area of Kunduz City, in central Afghanistan.

The UN Charter says the international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

As a member country of the UN and home to the fourth largest population of Hazaras in the world, Australia has a responsibility to protect the Hazaras in Afghanistan from being ethnically cleansed.

Australia has a moral obligation to help those who supported them in their mission in Afghanistan and not abandon them. We need to show compassion and the spirit of mateship.

Ordinary Australians, community groups and businesses have responded generously and without hesitation to support the small number of refugees who have arrived here after being evacuated from Kabul last month.

There has been an outpouring of offers of moral support as well as food, clothing and other goods. And Australia’s refugee agencies as well as our own established Afghani communities have swung into action to support the new arrivals on their settlement journeys here.

But the Australian government could do more.

Australia could help some of the most vulnerable people left behind in Afghanistan from being persecuted by granting 20,000 additional humanitarian visas.

And it could expedite the reunification of families by granting visas to people in Afghanistan who have connections in Australia.

Australia could also lift detention arrangements for people who now find it impossible to return home because of the persecution, or worse, that would await them under the brutal and repressive Taliban regime.

History shows abandoning mates in trouble has never been part of the Australian character. The nation should not start now.

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