Uncle fears for boys stranded in Kabul after travelling from Ireland

Man says nephews want to return to Ireland in time for school after visiting relatives

A businessman who made a new life in Ireland with his family and two orphaned nephews after fleeing his native Afghanistan more than ten years ago following Taliban threats is fearful for his nephews who are stranded in Kabul after leaving Ireland in July to visit their grandparents.

The man wept as he said he tries to keep the boys spirits up when speaking daily to them by phone. “I tell them they must be like James Bond, 007, but I worry. Every time I speak to them, I am scared for them.”

“I speak to the boys every day and they want to get back to Ireland in time for school. They have never missed a day and always do their homework. The school has been very good and sent a nice letter for us. The boys now ask, if they cannot get home, if they can do classes online.”

The man is legal guardian of the boys, aged 16 and 15, who have lived with him and his family since he secured refugee status in 2010 shortly after coming to Ireland. He had owned a company in Afghanistan which did some work for the US army and his nephews were orphaned after members of his family, including two brothers, were killed in bomb attacks on premises linked to him.

Since coming here, the man has set up several businesses which fully support his extended family, including his wife and children and his two nephews, who are legally resident and attend secondary school here.

Due to safety concerns, the man asked that neither he nor the boys should be identified. “Talibans broke the arm of my parents’ doctor when he told them they had moved from their house and he did not know their address. I am fearful for them.”

Last July, the boys travelled to Afghanistan with a neighbour of the family to visit their grandparents and participate in the Eid al-Adha religious festival.

They were due to return just before their school term opens in early September but have been unable to do so because an application for re-entry visas was not made before they left Ireland.

The man said the re-entry application was not made in July because he had only learned at a late stage of his neighbour’s planned visit to Afghanistan and was anxious the boys travel with that neighbour.

Through solicitor Albert Llussa, of Daly Lynch Crowe & Morris Solicitors LLP, the man is seeking family reunification visas for the boys, who already have permission to remain here, and their grandparents.

He is also applying for a family reunification visa for his sister, who he says is so opposed to an arranged marriage with a member of the Taliban, recently released from prison, she has said she will kill herself if it proceeds. “I am also not agreeing to this marriage,” he said.

Family reunification is also sought for another brother who is married with five children.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times