Wednesday 22 May 2019

Militants entering as Afghani refugees

JEROME REILLY

Local Afghan community leaders offer help to Department of Justice to screen refugees

LEADERS of the Afghani community living in Ireland have warned that Islamic militants from Pakistan and surrounding countries have come into Ireland posing as Afghani refugees.

The Department of Justice has been offered the services of Afghani-born translators to ensure that those who come to Ireland claiming to be from Afghanistan are natives of the war-torn nation.

The warning was issued by broadcaster and artist Nasruddin Saljuqi, an elder of the Afghani community in Ireland and chairman of the Afghanistan Cultural Association.

Mr Saljuqi fled Afghanistan more than a decade ago and came to Ireland via Iran under a programme run by the UNHCR.

"We have heard from translators that a number of individuals claiming to be from Afghanistan are from Pakistan and we suspect that they may be militants.

"They appear to have Afghan papers but these are easily forged in Pakistan. We have offered our service to the Department of Justice because only a person from Afghanistan can recognise if someone who arrives in Ireland is from Afghanistan or from some other country."

Pakistan was among the countries visited by Richard Reid in the months before the Brixton born man attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight out of Paris.

Reid travelled extensively including a 10-day stay in Israel which has added weight to the theory he was part of an organised and well-funded terrorist cell that may strike again. Security organisations across Europe and the Middle East have been scrambling to track the precise movements of the 28-year-old Briton.

Reid used his British passport to visit Egypt, Jerusalem, Turkey, Pakistan, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and possibly Afghanistan.

He is believed to have operated from a base in Amsterdam where he was given the C4 plastic explosive moulded into the shoes that he wore on American Airlines Flight 63. from Paris to Miami last Saturday. Mr Saljuqi said that one of a main problems is that it is very easy to forge Afghani travel documents.

"It is very easy to prepare Afghanistan documents illegally and because there is no embassy in Ireland or a consulate it is very difficult for the Irish authorities to find out if they are forgeries."

"Many of them speak the Pashtu language but there are many people from Pakistan who also speak this language. If these people were checked by genuine people from Afghanistan it would be better.

"The cultural association has heard that some people who have claimed to be from Afghanistan do not know anything about the country."

"We are thinking about the future. We do not want people involved in terrorism coming into Ireland saying they are from Afghanistan. We are unhappy because we fear they could do very bad things," Mr Saljuqi said.

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