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‘They will kill me without even thinking’: Gay Afghans living in fear

Gay people in Afghanistan say they have been fearing for their lives since the country fell again to the Taliban a week ago.

In Australia, advocacy groups have called for support to assist LGBTIQ+ refugees.

Afghanistan is among dozens of countries that still criminalise homosexuality, but the laws have not been enforced for two decades since Taliban rule.

Now that the military Islamist group has seized power, gay people say they are too afraid to leave their homes.

A judge in Afghanistan said last month that the Taliban would implement Sharia law across the country if it took power, executing men for homosexuality and other offenses.

“We cannot go out because we are just scared for our lives,” one man told Insider.

“If we get caught, the Taliban will kill us.”

The man said that he and his partner feared they would be unable to see each other again, and he has not left his home.

“If I had permission to get a visa to go to another country, I would not stay here for another second,” he said.

Another gay man who also said he dreamed of living openly in another country said he was afraid that executions would become common under the Taliban.

“It’s clear to me that as soon as the Taliban know that I am a gay man, they will kill me without even thinking about it,” he said.

LGBTIQ+ rights organiser Nemat Sadat, who left for the US in 2013, is helping gay Afghans apply for asylum to leave the country.

“It’s not hyperbolic to say that gay people will get weeded out and exterminated by the Taliban, just like the Nazis did,” Sadat said. 

“People are messaging me saying here’s my passport, here’s all my information, please get me out of this country, I’m going to die.”

Giancarlo de Vera, President of the Australian GLBTI Multicultural Council, said that LGBTIQ+ people “must be recognised in Australia’s humanitarian program and resettlement services”.

“Cultural and religious challenges are often barriers to family reunion applications,” said de Vera. 

“Organisations that provide assistance with humanitarian visa applications must be properly resourced to support LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced peoples coming properly.”

Renee Dixson, Acting Chair of the Forcibly Displaced People Network, said that LGBTIQ+ people could be disproportionately targeted by violence.

“Australia needs to ensure quick pathways to safety to all Afghan people at risk of violence,” said Dixson.

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