Malala Yousafzai said the rescue of women’s rights activists and others from Afghanistan conquered by the Taliban has brought “hope and security” to vulnerable Afghans.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s comments come as it emerged that a former Afghan minister, as well as a lawyer who prosecuted more than 2,000 Taliban prisoners, were among the Afghans arriving in Greece on Monday.
A private charter flight transported the group of 119 Afghans from the capital Kabul, with activists who have worked with Yousafzai among the refugees.
Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist campaigning for women’s education, said: “Today’s arrival brings hope and security to so many incredible and vulnerable Afghans, including women’s rights defenders, journalists, and Malala Fund partners.
“I am grateful to Prime Minister Mitsotakis and the government of Greece for their support.”
Many of the Afghans who escaped had been forced into hiding from the Taliban, with members of the ultra-Orthodox Islamist group searching for those who were allied with the previous government.
Faridoon Hazeen, a lawyer who investigated people with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, was traveling with his wife and four children.
He said, “We had to go. The Taliban were looking for us. They went to my apartment and broke everything. They took my older brother hostage for eight days, then they took my younger brother and my father. My older brother was tortured and is still in critical condition.
“By helping us with this flight, the Greek government has shown that humanity matters and is playing its part for people who need help and support. For that, I am truly grateful. “
Greece has so far supported the rescue of 700 Afghans, including judges, politicians, artists and human rights activists.
Amed Khan, founder of the Zaka Khan Foundation, which financed and organized the flight, stated: “The children, women and men on this flight were being attacked by the Taliban, their lives were in immediate danger and so it was of the utmost importance that we were able to take them out quickly.
“It is a great credit to the Greek government that it has been so helpful in facilitating their journey to safety and offering shelter to vulnerable people when they need it most.”
The Independent recently reported that girls from the Afghan national youth soccer team and their families, who escaped from the Taliban, face being trapped in temporary accommodation or separated because a council says it cannot relocate them all.
A leaked email from Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghanistan women’s team, suggests that Leeds City Council is refusing to provide accommodation for the 132 Afghans in the group, which includes 32 teenage footballers, their families, coaches and other staff.
This came after The Independent revealed in early September that girls from the national soccer team were stranded in Afghanistan. The activists warned that “time is running out” and that the girls were at risk of “serious threats” from the Taliban and “disintegration of their security.”
We wish to give thanks to the writer of this post for this incredible material
Malala Says Evacuation of Afghan Activists to Greece Brings “Hope”