Kiwi Tampa survivor calls for emergency Afghanistan intake

Source: Q and A

After coming to Aotearoa 20 years ago in the Tampa incident, former refugee Abbas Nazari is calling on New Zealand to resettle those fleeing violence in Afghanistan as the Taliban retakes control.

Nazari says he has six family and friends “literally at the gates of Kabul Airport trying to get on one of the Australian or New Zealand Defence Force planes”.

He’s calling on New Zealand’s government to make room for an emergency intake of Afghan refugees.

Nazari told Q+A with Jack Tame the initial priority of getting Kiwis out of Kabul was the correct one. “I applaud the Prime Minister and others who are working extremely hard to get them off the ground.”

But he says there is precedent for an emergency intake of refugees. “This can be done, and it has been done, as it was under the Key Government in 2015 when they approved an emergency intake of Syrian refugees.”

“We have all seen those harrowing images of people climbing on to … the planes, holding on to the wings of the planes and falling to their deaths. The situation there is just indescribably difficult and so given New Zealand’s connection and commitment to the Afghan conflict there is a moral responsibility” to help refugees.

Tampa survivor and Fulbright scholar on counter-terrorism Abbas Nazari joins Q+A for a live interview about the fall of Afghanistan’s government, how the Taliban were able to sweep through so easily, and why New Zealand now has a moral obligation to host an emergency intake of refugees.

He told Tame he agreed with former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp that New Zealand cannot shirk its responsibility in Afghanistan, particularly to “those men and women who have helped our guys on the ground come back to safety.”