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Six Afghan Athletes 'Missing and Seeking Asylum' After Prince Harry's Invictus Games

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Saturday November 3, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Over half of Afghanistan’s team at the Invictus Games in Australia have vanished and are said to be planning to seek asylum.
The six who are missing – five athletes and one official – did not arrive at the airport to fly home with the rest of the squad on Sunday.
A volunteer who helped the Afghans during Prince Harry’s event thinks the six intend to formally seek to remain in Oz.
Mirwais Ramaki said: “One of them said when he came and saw the people here... basically it was his first time coming out of the country, being in a safe... environment.
“My understanding is they never had the intention to stay, but this 10 days changed their perceptions.”
The Afghans – who have not been named – disappeared after attending the closing ceremony in Sydney on Saturday.
Their five team-mates are said to be worried as the group have limited English and little money.
A source close to the multi-sport Games said the missing six hold visas to stay in Oz until the end of November, so have not yet breached the conditions of the permits.
The insider said: “Rumours were circulating they planned to claim asylum. Now every effort is being made to contact them.” The Games’ main sponsor Jaguar Land Rover organized funding for the team to attend because they could not afford it.
The event for injured ex-service personnel involved 500 athletes from 18 nations.
The Department of Home Affairs in Australia said: “The competitors and officials may remain lawfully in Australia until the expiry of their visas.”
After April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia around 250 athletes and officials stayed and roughly 200 lodged asylum applications.

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