A former Afghanistan news anchor who had to flee his native country over attempts on his life by the Taliban has warned that terrorism will spread to other countries if the escalating situation is not put under control.

Ennis based, Sayed Farid Sanai has been assisting RTÉ this week with their coverage of the harrowing scenes from Afghanistan this week.

On Wednesday, the Taliban met their first street protests since their takeover of Afghanistan. A public display of dissent in the north-eastern city of Jalalabad was met by an overwhelming use of force with Taliban soldiers firing into the crowd and beating both protesters and journalists.

The Taliban, fighting since their 2001 ouster to expel foreign forces, seized Kabul on Sunday after a lightning offensive as US-led Western forces withdrew under a deal that included a Taliban promise not to attack them as they leave.

US forces running Kabul Airport had to stop flights on Monday after thousands of frightened Afghans swamped the facility looking for a flight out. Flights resumed yesterday as the situation came under control.

Thirty two year old Farid was one of the most recognised news anchors on Afghanistan television. He led the 6 O’Clock news on Khurshid TV. but was forced to flee his country in October 2019 after gun and bomb attempts on his life by the Taliban. Since November of that year, he has lived at The Clare Lodge in Ennis as a Direct Provision resident.

He said this week that thousands of lives are at risk along with homes, businesses and women’s rights in his native country. He warned that without immediate intervention, other terrorist groups will seize their opportunity. “Terrorism will increase in different parts of this world if we don’t stop terrorism in Afghanistan”.

“What happened in Afghanistan, I cannot believe it that the President put our people in this very bad situation, as an Afghan citizen I cannot forgive him, I think he sold our country and our people to Taliban, Afghan people never accept Taliban control”.

His wife, son and mother remain in Afghanistan, he has been in contact with them, other relatives and friends this week. “The situation is very bad and dangerous”.

Farid remains very worried for their safety, he has appealed to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney (FG) for assistance regarding their documents on family reunification to try get to Ireland.

“When it happened, I follow the news from many months ago and I knew the Taliban at the moment they are in power and would maybe come back to Kabul and control Kabul, I didn’t feel that the President would leave Afghanistan and leave everything else to Taliban groups. From far away in Ireland, I can’t do anything for my family, my relatives or friends, I’m very worried about them and I can’t sleep all the night. I feel I lost everything in this world, I feel I’ve lost all the world. Both of my knees are shaking with my country facing this type of a problem, I can’t believe what is going on there, this is a very big and bad situation for our people”.

“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”.

On Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it is helping to remove 25 Irish citizens and eight dependents from Afghanistan. It’s understood that the 33 people are located in different areas, with not all of them near the airport in Kabul.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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