Afghanistan, A country lost to the forces of Darkness

These days all attention was diverted to Afghanistan as the US and other western countries pulled out of the country, leaving it to the Taleban, an ultra extremist Islamic group that won over the Western might not once but twice and took back a country which it retreated from some 20 years ago. The West, especially the US spent trillions of dollars to “Nation build” in Afghanistan. But they failed and it is the Afghan people who will pay the price. Now the life of those who cooperated with the West, those who worked in the western projects and the rest of intellectuals, writers, poets, journalists, and women, especially in all areas of the society, is in danger. Afghanistan had 300 women judges and their lives is in danger.

Here is a letter Exiled Writers Ink compiled to send to the Guardian in support of the Afghans who are left behind and need assistance.

With the withdrawal of western countries from Afghanistan, Exiled Writers Ink, together with UK Afghan writers, are deeply concerned about the fate of writers, poets, artists, film directors, cultural institute personnel, journalists, and those working in the charity and voluntary sector who have been left behind and are at risk of being hunted down by the Taliban. EWI and UK Afghan writers are in contact with writers in Afghanistan whose lives are in danger and who are appealing to us for help. PEN International recently reported the brutal murder of poet, historian, and member of Afghan PEN, Abdullah Atefi. Currently, we know of about 90 people whose lives are in imminent danger.

Some of these have British nationality and the rest are eligible to come under the British government scheme which pledged to provide them with protection. Yet we are highly dubious that the Taliban will permit further departures despite their assurances that they will do so in the case of foreign nationals and those with authorization (‘Taliban say they will allow more departures’ 30.8.2021).

The only route currently remaining is into Pakistan which is a very dangerous crossing. Other neighboring countries have closed their borders to the refugees with those who escaped to Iran having been deported back to Afghanistan.

With the gravity of the situation, it is a matter of the utmost urgency to save these people and we urge the government to comply with its promises and help to bring them out.

Ruth Padel, George Szirtes, Abdul Sulamal (Director London Afghan Literary Movement), Karim Haidari, Suhrab Sirat, Shabibi Shah, Mohammad Akbar Kargar, Haidar Yagane, Wahida Zalmai, Rouhi Shafii, Mabel Encinas, Nada Menzalji, Bernard Kops, Taslima Nasrin, Robert Chandler, Mimi Khalvati, Pascale Petit, Jane Duran, Clare Pollard, Nasrin Parvaz, Shamim Azad, Dr David Clark, Valbona Luta, Isabel Ros López, Shirin Razavian, Danielle Maisano, Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Mehrangiz Rassapour, Pam Zinnemann-Hope, Stephen Duncan, Isabel del Rio, Maureen Kendal, Zoe Neirizi, Danny Allen, Michelle Fuller, Dr Jennifer Langer (Director Exiled Writers Ink), Catherine Davidson (Chair Exiled Writers Ink).

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