Waterford man fears for his family stuck in Kabul

Waterford man fears for his family stuck in Kabul

Crowds on the tarmac at Kabul airport attempting to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban took control. Picture: AFP

A Waterford man whose family members are stuck in Kabul says he is terrified for their safety.

The man's parents, aged in their seventies and currently in the Afghanistan capital, are Irish citizens, having lived here since 2011.

The family has attempted to leave repeatedly but cannot reach the gate of the airport due to massive overcrowding, stampeding, and exhausting heat.

"I'm afraid they don't leave there, the Taliban is applying their rules to foreign nationals, they are called 'infidels'," said the man who doesn't want to give his name or be pictured for fear of it identifying his family in Kabul.

"I want them to get out as soon as possible to any country except Afghanistan. All the embassies have been evacuated, and the borders are closed.

"My mum and dad and my brother, they are all Irish citizens, they went to Afghanistan because my brother was getting married.

"His wife and five-month-old baby both have visas. 

They had a flight booked to come back today which was booked before the Taliban took over and they are stuck there."

He said when they have tried to get to the airport, they have been shot at with tear gas and beaten.

"My father is over 70 and can't stand and push through crowds. He can't wait around for hours in the heat. The problem is you can't get to the airport, getting to the airport is like dying. People got shot, people died from the stampede. All gates are closed, there are something like 600,000 people there."

He has been keeping in contact with his family by telephone while they stay with family friends around 5km from the airport. However, telecommunications are not reliable.

"They are very much scared, I talked to them, and my father was injured yesterday, he was beaten back trying to come to the gate. When they go they are beaten with the sticks and they're [the Taliban] firing on people," he said.

"My father is old and my brother is also disabled. People are getting on planes with no papers at all and my parents have Irish passports and can't get home to Ireland."

Getting Irish passport holders in Afghanistan to the airport in Kabul safely remains a significant hurdle in efforts to evacuate people.

There is no Irish diplomatic or consular presence in Afghanistan; however, three more Irish people have been evacuated from the airport, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A total of six people have been evacuated but there are still 35 Irish citizens and dependents seeking to leave the country.

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