'Could have been prevented': Collins says NZ too slow to extract Afghan allies after man beaten to death by Taliban

An Afghan man applying to move to New Zealand has been beaten to death by suspected Taliban militants.

A family member already here in New Zealand was working with Community Law to get his visa processed, awaiting a court hearing on why it was taking so long, Stuff reported on Saturday morning

The person already here was resettled after assisting the New Zealand Defence Force during its long mission in Afghanistan, which ended earlier this year. 

"I can confirm that the community law client who died is a family member of a person who was resettled in New Zealand because of their support of the NZDF in Afghanistan," Sue Moroney, Community Law chief executive and former Labour MP, told Stuff.

He was reportedly trying to escape to Pakistan when he was attacked, making it across the border but dying of his injuries two days later.

The Taliban recently retook control of the war-torn Asian nation. It's not clear if they were behind the attack, but it wouldn't be surprising. There were reports in late August, as Kabul fell, that Taliban members were going door-to-door looking for people who helped Western forces during the 20-year war.

"The Taliban take an attitude it's not just the one person - the male or female in the household that's been working with New Zealand troops - but it's pretty much the extended family that are then in danger," National Party leader Judith Collins told Newshub Nation on Saturday morning.

"I find it heartbreaking the fact New Zealand has left behind hundreds of people who worked with our New Zealand troops and also our New Zealand police when they were in Afghanistan… really, the time to have taken them out would have been in May or even before that, when New Zealand troops were coming out finally."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade cut off resettlement applications for Afghan nationals at the end of August, citing the "rapidly deteriorating situation" as the Taliban took control. The policy up until then had been to only consider applications from Afghans who directly assisted New Zealand efforts and their immediate family. 

"I am feeling very, very sorry that people who put their lives at risk to help us, help our New Zealanders over 20 years, are now being in such danger," said Collins. "It could have been prevented."

Judith Collins on Newshub Nation.
Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

She didn't go into detail about whether National would have cast a wider net in terms of who it would accept applications from, only saying it couldn't have been a "blanket everybody" policy.

She said more effort to extricate allied Afghans should have been made in February when New Zealand ended its mission.

"I just wish that the Government had moved a bit faster," said Collins.

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