27 Aug 2021

Desperate Afghan to resist Taliban as relocation hopes to NZ collapse

10:42 am on 27 August 2021

An Afghan man hoping to relocate to New Zealand is now preparing to "make a last stand" against the Taliban, his friend says.

An RNZAF C130 landed in Kabul and safely evacuated a number of New Zealanders and Australians.

Security guard Shaib Mohammad, who assisted during New Zealand's mission in Afghanistan, has not gained a place on evacuation flights out of the country. Photo: Supplied / New Zealand Defence Force

Wellington man Dwayne Wilkins said he has tried everything to get his friend Shaib Mohammad out of Afghanistan, but now it is probably too late.

Wilkins, who worked in Afghanistan, said he had reached that conclusion before the latest twin bombings overnight that have claimed at least 60 lives.

He told Morning Report that the situation now was even more of a shambles. New Zealanders would find it hard to understand the desperation that drove people to camp for days outside the airport even though they knew there could be violence.

His friend was a security guard and accompanied Wilkins to Bamyan province numerous times.

Wilkins' job was to provide quality assurance for aid projects including midwifery services, new universities and roads.

"I worked on a large aid project that validated that a project had been completed or let alone exists and to what level of quality."

He had been texting Mohammad overnight and the Afghan was getting ready to "make his last stand".

He was kitted up with guns, knives and petrol cans and "ready to fight to the death" against any Taliban who came into his home.

The Taliban have lists of names from contracting companies as they have access to all the government databases, Wilkins said.

Mohammad has already been visited by the Taliban two or three times and members are encircling his home.

A Taliban fighter stands guard on a street in Herat on August 14, 2021.

Taliban fighters have visited Shaib Mohammad's home and are now stationed outside the property. (file pic) Photo: AFP

His daughter who is three months old has been named Jacinda in honour of the prime minister and her approach after the Christchurch attacks.

However, Wilkins was critical of the government. He said it had left it too late to help Afghans and the country now needs to take more refugees.

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who supported New Zealand during its mission there.

"There are ways to get people out - it's not entirely dependent on just the airport.

"People are creative. There are ways to get people out of the country."

PM defends NZ's approach

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that people trying to get out of Afghanistan to New Zealand were not being held back because of visa processing.

She said there was no way to get all of those people who wanted to escape in the initial emergency evacuation, but Cabinet planned to figure out what it could do once that was over.

She said the window was very short and the government had now halted resettlement applications.

Ardern said there were three groups of people who the government would need to continue to work to evacuate from the country.

The first group was New Zealand citizens or visa holders who had been unable to reach Kabul airport from the province they were in; the second group was those who supported New Zealand agencies in Afghanistan that faced the same problem; and the third group was a broader general category of refugees.

No decisions had been made on whether to increase New Zealand's overall refugee quota, she said.

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