Special representative to Afghanistan Matthew Hawkins reveals challenges of relocating Afghans with New Zealand visas

The special representative to Afghanistan Matthew Hawkins has revealed the challenges of getting Afghan citizens with links to our Defence Force into New Zealand.   

In the three months since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, hundreds of Afghans with links to our Defence Force have been approved for visas.

But very few have made it out and Newshub has talked exclusively to the man whose job it is to open diplomatic doors and bring them to their new home.

Men, women and children - including a baby - are fearing for their life as they hide in a house from the Taliban in Kabul.

Everyone in the house has a visa to leave but they have no way to get out. 

"He is living in this house with three more families and they can not go out to the bazaar and outside the house," says a man who wants to remain anonymous.

This is because they fear they'll be beaten or killed by the Taliban for helping our Defence Force in Afghanistan.

"For the security situation, they cannot return back to the Bamyan Province," he says. 

They're not the only ones with nowhere to go. Since the Taliban took over, 170 visa applications have been made for Afghans who assisted the NZDF, and their families. 

Of those, 108 have been approved but just 10 people have made it to New Zealand.

With winter coming, there are fears some will die waiting.

"The reality is they've got starvation coming, they're being hunted by the Taliban, it's not good," former Deputy Chief of Army Chris Parsons tells Newshub. "Some people aren't going to make it."

Parsons has walked with them while serving in Afghanistan and says evacuations are too slow and agencies need to work together to speed it up.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been leaning forward," Parsons says. "They have been engaged. We're grateful for that but now I'm really talking about the other agencies Immigration New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs."

The man on the front line in the Middle East is Matthew Hawkins who has overseen a number of flights out of Kabul carrying all types of Kiwi visa holders.

"We're getting a lot of assistance from friends," Hawkins tells Newshub. "We're relying on our relationships and getting people on to those flights is very complex."

The relationship with the Taliban is also complex and not recognised by many as a legitimate government.

However countries including China, Pakistan and Norway have met with the Taliban in person but New Zealand hasn't.

"New Zealand has made multiple statements around what our expectations are of the Taliban and those are part of a collective effort," Hawkins says.

A collective effort to secure safe passage for those who served New Zealand and now want to call it home.

Watch the full story above.