Sydney Shiite man killed by Taliban in Afghanistan
That is one of the theories being examined as the federal government tries to confirm the death of Sydney man Sayed Habib Musawi.
His family says he had been in Afghanistan to visit relatives but was captured by the Taliban just over a week ago while on a bus trip.
They say his body was found on the side of a road last week.
After fleeing from the Taliban in 2000, returning to his native Afghanistan was always going to carry some risk for 56 year old Sayed Habib Musawi.
Mr Musawi was a dual national and had been back in Afghanistan to visit relatives.
His daughter, Kubra Musawi, says, somehow, the Taliban found out her father was in the country and captured him while he was riding a bus to the capital Kabul.
“When they got him, they said, ‘Ah, we got a report about you, saying that you live in Australia and you have a house in Kabul and you have a house in Australia, you came from Australia, and you’re a Shia.’ But being a Shia, I don’t think that would be that big a thing, because everyone in the bus was Shia. So, probably, they just make up a reason, because in front of the Taliban, in front of the passengers, in front of the driver, they will not say the truth.”
Kubra Musawi’s mother and her brother Nemat flew to Afghanistan last Wednesday after learning of the alleged murder.
Sayed Balkhi runs a business in Melbourne selling imported rugs, carpet and furniture, and he employs Nemat Musawi as a salesman.
He says the whole family is looking for answers.
“They don’t know exactly what has happened, but they’re all devastated and they’re still shocked why it has happened. But that’s what they think, that it’s because he’s an Australian. He was an Australian and could have been reported to the Taliban that he’s Australian, and that was probably the reason. That’s what they think as well.”
Kubra Musawi says her father’s killers left a chilling message written on her father’s body.
“In his arm, they wrote that, if you work as an army (soldier) for the government, this will happen to you. They wrote in Pashto.”
She says her father was not working for anyone in Afghanistan.
But she says the Taliban had been looking for one of her brothers who has fled to Indonesia.
“That’s one reason that he ran away from the Taliban. He came to Australia to be safe. So that’s probably one reason. And they have been looking for my brother, because my brother left, and they knew my brother was working for the government, he was working as an engineer. They have been looking for him, and then he couldn’t … he wasn’t safe there, so then he travelled to Indonesia.”
Kubra Musawi says she hopes the relatives she has in Afghanistan will not also be targeted.
“My hope will be that my brother’s family is safe, but how can they be safe? That’s the place where my dad has been killed. It’s just too hard for me to describe it. And my brother’s in Indonesia. He’s feeling really bad because his family is there. He’s thinking, ‘If this happened to my dad, how will they be good to my family?’ Of course, they’re not going to be nice to the family. They will kill maybe the family. You never know.”
The Australian government’s Smartraveller website continues to advise that Afghanistan remains a Do Not Travel destination.
But Sayed Balkhi says some Afghan Australians who have relatives in Afghanistan are prepared to take a risk.
“Generally speaking, it’s not probably safe to go to Afghanistan for anyone, but, sometimes, people think that, ‘Well, because I’ve been away from my relatives and friends and that for some time and hopefully nothing’s going to happen to me, I might just go and see them after years.’ And probably they take a risk, I suppose, but yeah …”
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