22 wanted Afghans in Zambia

TWENTY-TWO Afghanistan citizens on a Taliban wanted list have sought sanctuary in Zambia after being denied entry into South African where they were originally destined to seek asylum, Parliament heard on Tuesday.

Shiwang’andu Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament raised the alarm on the presence of the Afghanistans on the floor of Parliament and told the house the presence of Taliban wanted persons was causing serious threat to the security of the country.
Mr Kampyongo, the former Home Affairs Minister raised the security concerns after his predecessor Jack Mwiimbu confirmed that 22 Afghanistan officials wanted by the Taliban were in Zambia.
The Shiwang’andu lawmaker revealed that the 22 Afghanistans were in Zambia having arrived in the country aboard the Emirates on February 19 hours on Monday evening.
Mr Kampyongo, rising on a point of order on a matter of serious urgency told Parliament that Zambians were uncertain what visa the government had awarded the Taliban wanted Afghanistans.
He told the House that South African Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi rejected the entry of the Afghananistans into that country on grounds that a United States Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) was attempting to undermine and attack South Africa’s sovereignty using the judicial system.
“Madam Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order on a matter of serious urgency, is the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in order to remain quiet when there are 22 Afghans on a Taliban wanted list are in Zambia? The 22 Afghans were on transit to South Africa but the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has denied them entry into that country. We are uncertain of what Visa the government of Zambia has granted them for their stay. These individuals were pursued from Pakistan and even casualties were recorded before they fled to Zimbabwe,” Mr Kampyongo told Parliament. Mr Kampyongo wondered how the 22 Afghans who were on the Taliban wanted list and were rejected in South Africa could be allowed to enter Zambia with ease.
He said the group arrived in Zambia on February 19 2023 aboard an Emirates plane and have been in the country ever since.
Mr Kampyongo said Zambia was taking serious risks because South Africa was scared to allow the 22 Afghans in that country because the government had assessed its security situation.
Mr Kampyongo said that the 22 started their journey in Pakistan were some casualties were even recorded before coming to Zimbabwe where they tried to enter South Africa however their request was denied.
He said Zambia which would be taking over the chairmanship of the SADC Troika on Defence and Security needed to be security conscious and avoid admitting foreign nationals who were a security risk to the country.
But Mr Mwiimbu said the 22 Afghans did not pose any risk to Zambians because government had undertaken a background check and had assessed that they were not a security risk to the country.
Mr Mwiimbu told Parliament that the only reason they were allowed to enter Zambia and seek sanctuary was that they were waiting for their paper work to be completed for asylum in South Africa.
Mr Mwiimbu claimed the lives of the 22 Afghans were in danger and Zambia being a member of the United Nations (UN) had to offer sanctuary
Mr Mwiimbu said the 22 were seeking asylum in South Africa and their stay in Zambia was on temporal basis as they would leave once their paperwork for asylum seeking in South Africa were completed.
“I can confirm that as government, we are considering those applications for those individuals believed that they are being sort after by the Taliban. Those individuals are in transit as they wait for their applications in South Africa to be concluded,” Mr Mwiimbu said.
And when quizzed by Kamfinsa MP Christopher Kang’ombe on the details of the asylum seekers Mr Mwiimbu said he would not be an irresponsible minister to give out their details when their lives were in danger.

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