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The dramatic story of a mayor of Afghanistan mobilizes a people of Spain

“If you speak to her again, please tell her to go urgently to the airport and apply for asylum. I am trying to get the government of Spain to help me so that we can receive it in our town ”, he tells Clarion, agitated, Miguel Navarré Sancho, the mayor of a Valencian municipality who, moved by the testimony he read in this newspaper of the Afghan mayor Zarifa Ghafari, threatened by the Taliban advance, offers to receive her.

“I made a request to the government of Spain to inquire about the whereabouts of Zarifa Ghafari. And if she wishes, she may ask for asylum. She is the one who has to ask for it. For her and for her whole family, ”insists the mayor, while news from Kabul affirms that the Taliban blocked access to the airport.

“It is an icon of the fight for women’s rights and his life is in danger. She is a mayor like me and I know what it means to represent many people. How can we not offer help? ”, Says Navarré Sancho, who heads the government of Casinos, a town of 3,100 inhabitants of the Valencian Community.

Famous for the nougats and dumplings that its people make for Christmas, Casinos is in the Campo de Turia region and 6,000 kilometers from Afghanistan, from where Zarifa, the only mayor and the youngest in her country, confessed to Clarion: “I’m on the run, trying to save my life and that of my family.”

Letters and rush orders

Since reading Zarifa’s life story published Thursday in Clarion, Navarré Sancho sent official letters to the Government Delegation of the Valencian Community, the Ministry of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, requesting help to rescue the Afghan mayor.

“As the mayor of a small town, I ask you to take all steps with the Spanish government and the Spanish diplomatic mission in Afghanistan so that the until now mayor, Zarifa Ghafari, her husband and children can leave the country and establish them in a safe place. and they are granted political asylum in accordance with Article 38 of Law 12/2009, ”the letter that the mayor sent to the Minister of Foreign Relations requested.

This Friday, Navarré Sancho tried to contact the Spanish embassy in Kabul by mail. But the message came back rejected, as if the official email from the Spanish embassy in Afghanistan was blocked.

“As mayor, it would hurt me if the only Afghan mayor, who is the voice of those who will be oppressed by the new Taliban government, is assassinated or her rights trampled on at the hands or by order of the new regime that has just settled in Afghanistan. ”Says one of the letters sent by the mayor of Casinos.

Zarifa, 27, and Navarré Sancho have been in office for more or less the same time.

The Afghan, which since January 2018 governs a municipality in which 35,000 people live, that of Maidan Shahr, was not voted on by the neighbors: it was appointed by President Ashraf Ghani, who left Afghanistan when the Taliban took Kabul, the end of last week.

Navarré Sancho, a graduate in Law and Humanities, belongs to the Compromís party and has been mayor of Casinos since June 2019.

Help from Germany

A German non-governmental organization would also be managing how to get Zarifa out of Afghanistan and land her in Frankfurt.

“It is not a question of only coming to our town. Whoever helps her, let her get out of her country alive and can continue to defend her ideals, ”says the mayor of Casinos.

Zafira has not spoken on her social networks since Saturday, August 14.

On Tuesday 17 Clarín managed to contact her and agree with her a talk that has not yet materialized. Since then, Zarifa has not responded. And his silence anguish.

Madrid, correspondent



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