Malala calls on countries to open borders to Afghan refugees 10 months ago

Malala calls on countries to open borders to Afghan refugees

She said US President Joe Biden must "take a bold step" to protect the Afghan people.

Malala Yousafzai has encouraged the world to take action to help the people of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country over the weekend.

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Monday saw chaotic scenes at Kabul's airport as thousands desperately tried to secure a way out of the country following the Taliban's rapid occupation of the capital.

The 24-year-old has said that "countries need to open their borders to Afghan refugees."

Malala herself was a victim of Taliban horrors in Pakistan when she was shot in the head by them in 2012 after speaking up for the the right of girls to be educated. She found refuge in the UK, moving to Birmingham after recovering from the injuries which almost killed her.

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At the age of 17, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, before going on to study at Oxford. She is now one of the most prominent activists and human rights campaigners in the world.

Speaking to BBC's Newsnight about the situation in Afghanistan, she said: "My request to all countries, especially the US, UK, and western countries, is that they must protect all those human and women's rights activists right now.

"And you know what has happened, you know, we can definitely debate about that. But we also need to talk about the immediate next steps that we need to take. We need to talk more about the solutions right now."

She went on to accuse the US of making irresponsible statements in the light of the takeover in Afghanistan, after comments from the likes of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who recently described the US-led campaign there as a successful mission.

"I think the way the US described this war and how it was declared as a victory, I think this sends a very wrong impression," she said. "The Taliban waited for twenty years and they [US] are claiming their so-called victory after that."

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Yousafzai confirmed that she has talked to other world leaders and members of both the American and British governments.

"I have been trying to reach out to many global leaders. I think every country has a role and responsibility right now. Countries need to open their borders to Afghan refugees, to the displaced people," she said.

There are concerns in particular for women across Afghanistan.

Yousafzai has been an avid campaigner for women's rights, emphasising the need for girls in poorer nations to have a proper education.

She said she was "raising her voice for the women" of Afghanistan. Under previous Taliban rule, women were stoned for adultery while their limbs were cut off for theft. Girls were also not allowed to go to school.

Yousafzai added: "The women are brave, they're strong, and they keep raising their voices. And we must give more opportunities and time to them to tell us what it is that needs to be done for them, for the peace in Afghanistan."