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‘There really is no future left’: Afghanistan’s LGBT+ community | World News


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After Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, the UK government promised to take in those who helped UK forces during the war and those most vulnerable to persecution.

But many of those most at risk, including “thousands” of LGBT+ Afghans, were left behind, according to Nemat Sadat, chief executive of the LGBT+ charity Roshaniya.

Speaking to the Sky News Daily podcast with Niall Paterson, Sadat, who left Afghanistan in 2013 after hostility towards his sexuality, said “there really is no future left for LGBT+ people in Afghanistan.”

Homosexuality is currently illegal under Afghanistan’s Islamic law, and the state does not recognize transgender people. The punishment for being homosexual is the death penalty.

“It’s probably the worst place to be an LGBT+ person. And under Taliban rule, under Sharia law, the Taliban continue to trap LGBT+ people. Once they find an LGBT+ person, they torture them,” Sadat continued.

“And they tell us, if you want this torture to end, you basically have to introduce us to your entire network of LGBT+ people, give us their names, give us their contact information so we can track them down and find them.”

One gay man still living in Afghanistan is 23-year-old Arseen. We have changed his name to protect his identity.

He told Sky News Daily: “I am on the run from my own family at the moment because my uncles, who are religious leaders, beat me up.”

He described how, even though Afghanistan was hostile to the LGBT+ community before, he was at least able to get on with his life. Now, Arseen lives in hiding, after losing her job and then his placement at the university, for fear of discovery. “I am losing hope for my future. The Taliban destroyed all opportunities [of one].”

Both Arseen and Sadat accuse the UK government of not doing enough to support and protect LGBT+ Afghans.

One of the schemes designed to help resettle Afghans in the UK following the Taliban takeover is the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. Among the priority groups of the scheme are LGBT+ people.

Sky News Daily requested a response from the Home Office, which administers the scheme. He directed Sky News to the Foreign Office.

An FCDO spokesperson said: “The UK was one of the first countries since the fall of Kabul to facilitate a safe relocation route for LGBT+ Afghans at risk. Many are already in the UK, while some have been relocated to other safe countries or are in process in third countries for relocation to the UK. We will continue to do all we can to help LGBT+ Afghans at risk.”

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