The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Connection with Afghan crisis

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Member for Mallee Anne Webster has reminded communitie­s across her electorate that the region was far from immune from the humanitari­an crisis unfolding in war-torn Afghanista­n.

Dr Webster said she had been working on expediting visas for Afghan refugees in the electorate for the past two years and developmen­ts in the Middle East had raised anxiety levels.

She said many people from the Wimmera-mallee had, in the past 20 years, also put themselves at risk to be involved in allied efforts to guarantee freedoms in the country that Australian­s took for granted.

“We might like to think that this is just something else happening in the Middle East, but we have Afghan families in our electorate who have reached out,” she said.

“I met with one of the guys in Swan Hill in the last week and have been advocating to the minister for support for his wife and 17-month-old daughter.”

Dr Webster spoke of her concerns while visiting Horsham and joining Vietnam War veterans commemorat­ing the Battle of Long Tan.

“We had almost 60,000 Australian­s serve in Vietnam and among the 521 who died were people from our region,” she said.

“We’ve had 39,000 soldiers in Afghanista­n in the past 20 years and lost 41 Australian­s, who have families and who have died for freedoms we take for granted.

“Some of the people involved in this effort have come from our electorate and we highly value and thank them for their service.

“Having refugees here as well, who are valuable and contributi­ng members of our

communitie­s, certainly brings the reality back to a local perspectiv­e.”

Australian and other allied countries are in a desperate struggle to rescue people at risk after the takeover of Afghanista­n by their enemy of the past 20 years, The Taliban, a fundamenta­list religious-political military organisati­on.

The Taliban has a reputation for using terror, murder, torture and severe discrimina­tion to uphold extreme religious-based rule over the people it governs.

The Taliban toppled from power after United States-led Allied forces entered the country, which had been sheltering terrorist organisati­on Al-qaeda, responsibl­e for the 9-11 attacks.

 ??  ?? Anne Webster
Anne Webster

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