Friends of twice jailed human rights activist call for independent inquiry after body found in damaged wetsuit at Base G beach, Jayapura
The human rights campaigner Filep Karma – one of West Papua’s most famous former political prisoners – has been found dead on a beach in Jayapura, sparking calls for a full and independent inquiry into his death.
Twice jailed for raising the West Papuan Morning Star flag banned by Indonesia, 63-year-old Karma was one of the most prominent and influential campaigners for West Papuan independence.
Afghan nationals who worked for the Australian military and government in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul have pleaded for help to find safety, a year after the Taliban violently reclaimed power.
The Guardian has spoken with more than a dozen Afghan nationals trying to get to Australia, many of whom hold valid visas or are still waiting on applications, as Australia faces an overwhelming demand for humanitarian places.
Sayed* cannot forget the chaos of his final hours at Kabul airport – the surging masses of people trying to board any flight they could, his own desperate, unsuccessful pleading to board an Australian flight – showing the 449 visa he’d been hastily granted to enter the country.
A year later, still clinging to that 449 visa, he is yet to find a way to Australia. He is stranded in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, his family remain in hiding in Afghanistan, fearful of the Taliban insurgents hunting him.
The family of one of the Australian soldiers killed by rogue Afghan national army sergeant Hekmatullah says Australia was treated with contempt by its closest ally, the US, after it agreed to release the self-professed terrorist from prison.
The Guardian revealed on Monday that the former Afghan national army sergeant, and Taliban plant, Hekmatullah, is again at liberty, and housed under Taliban protection, in the former diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital Kabul.
Hekmatullah, the rogue Afghan soldier who killed three unarmed Australian diggers in Afghanistan a decade ago, is living in a luxury home in the capital Kabul, treated as a “returning hero” by the Taliban who released him from prison.
He has said he does not regret killing Australian soldiers, and has vowed he would again kill Australians, or anyone who opposes the Taliban.
As the Taliban tightened its grip on power in Afghanistan – casting girls from schools, ordering women home from work, and threatening to reinstitute the barbaric punishments that blighted their last rule – 10 young orphans packed everything they owned and quietly made their way out of Kabul.
Those 10 Afghan orphans – cared for in orphanages run by Sydney-based woman Mahboba Rawi and near-certain targets for Taliban retribution – were guided over Afghanistan’s fraught borderlands into Pakistan, where they found sanctuary, and from where they were helped onto evacuation flights to a new home in Australia.
Australia has said it “notes with regret” France’s unprecedented decision to recall its ambassador over the scrapping of a submarine contract – part of the Aukus military deal that experts said could damage relations for years and have serious broader consequences.
A spokesperson for Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said: “Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests.
Mohammad Zaman Khadimi was forced to make an impossible choice as he fled the Taliban for sanctuary in Australia
On an August morning, Mohammad Zaman Khadimi walked out of class and into a world entirely changed.
“I heard the news that the Taliban were coming,” he says. “They had captured Herat and Lashkar Gah and they would come to Kabul. Nothing would stop them. Everything changed. I knew I would be vulnerable.”
Afghan-Australian Mahboba Rawi says the valley’s residents are without food and medical supplies in the last holdout against the militants’ rule
Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley is facing a humanitarian crisis, with families trapped inside the narrow valley without enough food or medical supplies, and cut off from the outside world as the Taliban attacks the last holdout to their control of the entire country.
Afghan-Australian Mahboba Rawi – the “mother of a thousand” who has for decades run Mahboba’s Promise which houses, educates and supports thousands of Afghan widows and orphans - traces her ancestral home to the famously redoubtable valley, and said under Taliban besiegement, the people of Panjshir were suffering.
For some Afghans, the trauma of watching their homeland descend into civil war has been compounded by the fact they might have to go back
Even as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan, overrunning cities and ultimately seizing the capital, the Australian government was telling some Afghan asylum seekers they should leave Australia and return to a country plunging back into civil war.
As late as 28 July this year, with the Taliban brutally ascendant across Afghanistan and days from capturing the capital Kabul, Afghan nationals were told by the Department of Home Affairs they were “expected to depart Australia”.
Hazara family says 17-year-old, who has been living by himself in Kabul, will be a target for Taliban
An Australian family with a child stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan are desperate to be reunited with the teenager, saying he will be a target for the resurgent militant group.
The family, who cannot be named for safety reasons, has pleaded with the Australian government to help reunify them with the 17-year-old, currently in hiding in Kabul, but with Australia and its allies now out of the country, and the Taliban in near total control, there are few options to escape.
Talks are due in Doha and New York to try to reach an international consensus on the conditions for recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan. There are signs of tensions between superpowers after Russia called on the US to release Afghan central bank reserves that Washington blocked after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul earlier this month.
“If our western colleagues are actually worried about the fate of the Afghan people, then we must not create additional problems for them by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserves,” said the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.
Politico is reporting that US commanders had planned to close gates at the airport on Thursday, fearing an attack, but chose to keep them open to allow the British to continue to evacuate.
Hours later a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at the airport, killing nearly 200 people, including 13 US service members.
Commanders calling in from Kabul relayed that the Abbey Gate, where American citizens had been told to gather in order to gain entrance to the airport, was “highest risk,” and detailed their plans to protect the airport.
“I don’t believe people get the incredible amount of risk on the ground,” Austin said, according to the classified notes.