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Fears for trapped Afghans as EU and NATO evacuations run on

Civilians prepare to board an evacuation plane out of Kabul Airport.
Civilians prepare to board an evacuation plane out of Kabul Airport. Copyright Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Public Domain
Copyright Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Public Domain
By Euronews with AP
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Experts fear Afghans who worked for NATO countries will be subjected to "torture and execution".

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Human rights organisations and individuals inside Afghanistan continued to sound the alarm on Friday about attacks on progressives, minority groups and Afghans who worked with the former government and foreign states.

Amnesty International also reported that nine members of a minority ethnic group were shot and tortured to death by Taliban fighters in Ghazni province last month.

Following an urgent meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Friday afternoon, the group issued a joint statement expressing concern over the “grave events" in Afghanistan and called for “an immediate end to violence" and “serious human rights violations and abuses."

Confusion still reigns over whether the Taliban will permit Afghans eligible for evacuation to get inside Kabul Airport, which is still overcrowded as desperate families try to flee the country.

European countries continued to fly out their citizens and Afghan former colleagues on Friday, with Spain agreeing to shelter people on the way to their destinations.

But a recent diplomatic spat has left 32 Afghan refugees stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border, while Turkey has pressed ahead with plans to build a vast border wall blocking off on-foot arrivals from Iran.

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On Thursday a confidential United Nations document, leaked to the media, had warned that the Taliban was intensifying a search for people who worked with US and NATO forces.

Fighters, the UN's intelligence contractors wrote, had established "priority lists" of individuals they wanted to arrest.

"They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families 'according to Sharia law,'" Christian Nellemann, executive director of the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which compiled the report for the UN, told AFP.

"We expect both individuals previously working with NATO/US forces and their allies, alongside with their family members, to be exposed to torture and executions."

'We cannot abandon them'

European countries are still scrambling to evacuate those they originally deemed eligible, while calls are mounting for some states to do more.

Access to Kabul Airport is being made more difficult by hundreds of Afghans, who are not part of the official programmes, crowding the concourse outside and hoping to find a way out.

Shocking footage circulated on social media this week appeared to show parents handing their babies young children to US military officers, to be passed into the airport compound.

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The UK has announced it will take in up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next four years, on top of those now eligible for relocation because of their past work for the British embassy or army.

France and Germany have meanwhile called for the EU to plan to manage the expected surge in refugees coming from Afghanistan.

In a phone call on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed to US President Joe Biden there was a "moral responsibility, that we collectively have, towards Afghan men and women who need our protection and who share our values... We cannot abandon them."

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also asked Russia to raise the issue of Afghans who had worked with German forces and development groups being allowed safe passage out of the country.

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