In Afghan prison for months: Taliban release Austrian right-wing extremist

In Afghan prison for months
Taliban release Austrian right-wing extremists

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An Austrian right-wing extremist is traveling to Afghanistan in October 2022, and in a travel report he raves about his “safe educational vacation”. When he returned to the country a few months later, he was kidnapped by the Taliban. After nine months, the Austrian Foreign Ministry released the 84-year-old.

An Austrian right-wing extremist has been released after nine months in prison with the Taliban in Afghanistan. As the Federal Chancellery and the Vienna Foreign Ministry announced, 84-year-old Herbert F. landed in the Qatari capital Doha. He had been in the hands of the Islamist Taliban since May 2023, who abducted him shortly after he entered the country on charges of espionage.

On X, Chancellor Karl Nehammer from the ÖVP thanked the Qatari government for its mediation in the matter. The Foreign Ministry emphasized that the 84-year-old had received “as best as possible consular support” in recent months via the Foreign Office, the responsible embassy in Pakistan and the EU representation in Kabul. This meant that urgently needed medication and a hearing aid were given to him. The man’s family had previously published an online petition calling for diplomatic efforts to be intensified. Efforts are being made, the Foreign Ministry said at the request of the Austrian “Standard” last June. However, consular assistance in Afghanistan is “of course only possible to a very limited extent”.

Herbert F. is firmly rooted in the right-wing extremist scene in Austria. In 1967 he was a founding member of the National Democratic Party (NDP), which was banned in 1988. The former teacher had already visited Afghanistan in the 1980s, when Islamist groups were fighting against Soviet troops there. Despite a travel warning of the highest level for Afghanistan that has existed for decades, the self-proclaimed “friend of the people” traveled to Kabul via Pakistan in October 2022 and then again in 2023.

Like the Austrian one “Default” reported that shortly before his arrest he had published an article in a right-wing extremist newspaper under the title “Vacation with the Taliban” in which, among other things, he was impressed by the lively life in the bazaars. He portrayed Afghanistan as “safe again,” and in a supplementary interview he spoke of a “safe educational trip.” A story that people like to hear in right-wing extremist circles, because according to it Afghanistan would be a “safe country of origin” to which one can be deported without any problems. For example, in September a delegation from the right-wing extremist Austrian FPÖ traveled to Kabul to get an idea of ​​the security situation there.

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