Portsmouth in desperate plea for the government to do more to help Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban

DOZENS of human rights campaigners rallied last night demanding greater action from the government to rescue Afghan refugees from the Taliban.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 4:55 am

About 40 people staged a protest outside of Portsmouth’s Guildhall, in Guildhall Square, amid the on-going crisis in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Campaigners armed with plaques and banners chanted: ‘Refugees are welcome here’, as a crowd of onlookers gathered in the city centre to witness the demonstration.

Among those calling for action was Kurdish refugee Bavil Ahmad, who fled to the UK from Iraq in 2001 when he was just four.

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Kurdish refugee Bavil Ahmad, 25, of Portsmouth, whose family fled from Iraq to the UK in 2001, has demanded more action from the government to help Afghans trying to escape the Taliban in Kabul. Photo: Tom Cotterill

Now aged 25 and living in Portsmouth, Mr Ahmad has appealed for Whitehall to ‘save as many people as possible’ from the new Taliban regime.

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He said: ‘What is happening in Afghanistan is heartbreaking. As a refugee myself, I understand the situation and plight of the Afghan people. It’s terrifying.

‘I was in the same position as many of these Afghans are now, fleeing from the war on terror waged by Saddam Hussein on the Kurdish people.

Protesters pictured staging a rally at Portsmouth's Guildhall, calling on more action to be taken to help Afghan refugees fleeing from Kabul. Photo: Tom Cotterill

‘The government desperately needs to do more to help these families. Just being able to have some sort of safety and some sort of security makes the world of difference.’

The campaign came as hundreds more refugees arrived in the UK last night fleeing Kabul, which has been taken over by the Taliban.

The United Nations fears that many Afghan families who once helped coalition forces will now be hunted down by the Taliban and persecuted.

The situation in the country has become so dire, desperate Afghan mothers were reportedly begging British and American soldiers to take their babies and fly them out of the country.

Simon Magorian, who is part of the Stand Up To Racism group which staged the rally in Portsmouth, said the scenes coming out of Afghanistan were shocking.

Calling on the government to do more, he added: ‘The government needs to start taking this issues serious. It is talking about taking in 20,000 refugees over the next four years.

‘That’s not good enough. The situation is so desperate out there. There are people dropping from the skies because they were grabbing onto airplane fuselage.

‘There’s no sense of urgency at all. This is a humanitarian crisis. Serious action is now needed to get as many people out as we can and to do it as quickly as we can.’

Last night’s rally was one of several taking place across the UK.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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