Afghan sisters in hiding hope for way out

·2-min read

"If the Taliban hear about us or find us, they will kill us," a woman says by phone from the Afghanistan capital.

She and her sister have spent the past week hiding in a single room in Kabul, fearing for their lives.

The sisters are particular targets for the Taliban because they are unmarried, educated, and have worked with a western NGO.

They fled Mazar-e-Sharif two days before the Taliban swept through that city but, like so many others, when Kabul fell in mid-August they had nowhere left to run.

Such is the risk, AAP has chosen not to name them.

The sisters' lifeline is on the other side of the world - their brother in Sydney, who was born in Afghanistan and became an Australian citizen.

"I can't sleep at night, I have tried everything ... I am sure DFAT is flat out but I am terrified," he told AAP.

"They are not safe anywhere in Afghanistan, they are single, young, and they work."

As well as lodging applications with the department of foreign affairs, he has contacted MPs on both sides of politics, in a desperate attempt to secure visas.

Labor MPs have referred about 3000 people to the immigration minister in recent weeks - most of them from Afghan families with direct links to Australia.

Some have already been waiting up to four years for their visas to be processed, according to one MP's office.

The government has committed to taking 3000 refugees from war-torn Afghanistan in a year.

On Wednesday, Scott Morrison said Australia will be bringing people out of Afghanistan "for many years to come".

"We'll work together to continue to provide as many people the opportunity for a new life in Australia," he said.

A nine-day Australian mission airlifted about 4100 citizens, permanent residents and visa holders, but Australia ended evacuation efforts last week.

In total, about 122,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul as the Taliban swept to power, coinciding with western forces leaving Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said the next steps for people left behind would be very difficult.

"There's absolutely no doubt about its danger and the challenge that is presented to those who remain," she said.

"I do very much feel deeply for the Australians, their family members and those that they would very much like to support who remain in Afghanistan."

The brother said now that evacuation flights have ended, he feels hopeless.

"We didn't have a chance ... I completely don't know what will happen from here," he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been asked to comment on the family's case.

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