Anti-war groups join call to give Afghan asylum seekers permanent protection

Afghanistan in 2019. Photo: Laura Quagliuolo

In the wake of the Taliban take-over in Afghanistan, anti-war groups in Australia are backing calls on the federal government to swiftly give security to Afghan asylum seekers.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) say it must urgently offer safe haven to those wishing to leave and give permanent protection to Afghans on temporary protection visas in the community and in detention.

This is a practical measure to help Afghans right now, they said.

“The scenes of terrified people in Kabul being flashed across our screens should remind us not to let the war criminals get away with this,” said STWC on August 17.

“The initial invasion [in 2001] was revenge for the 9/11 terror attacks, even though the Afghan people were not responsible,” STWC said.

“The US then set up a series of puppet governments made up of brutal and corrupt war lords, demanding after 20 years of war and occupation they make a deal with the Taliban.

“Both Coalition and Labor governments have been willing participants in Afghanistan’s devastation.”

IPAN on August 18 said that the result of 20 years of war has been tens of thousands of Afghans dead, millions displaced, nearly 3600 US, NATO and allied soldiers killed, including 41 Australians, many suicides and many more suffering from ongoing mental health disorders.   

The anti-war groups warned that the US-led “war on terror” would only lead to more terror and this is what has happened. They say this disastrous war and occupation must serve to prevent any other such travesty from happening again.

Democracy, women’s rights and human rights cannot be imposed by war and foreign occupation, as democratic Afghan spokespeople, including Malalai Joya, have repeatedly warned. Dealing with the anti-woman, fundamentalist Talban in government will not be easy and the West must offer war reparations.

IPAN said the ANZUS Treaty, Australia’s cover to join the US-NATO war, must be re-evaluated.