The well-known Austrian right-wing extremist Herbert F. titled an article in a right-wing radical magazine “Vacation in Afghanistan”. It was a travel report about the “not so wild anymore” country that he visited in October 2022. In June of this year he ended up there again. He wanted to show that the state, which has been controlled by the radical Islamist Taliban since 2021, was so safe that refugees could be deported there without any problems.

A fallacy: Shortly after entering the country, F. was kidnapped by the Taliban under flimsy reasons and has been in a prison in Kabul ever since. In the country that he wanted to portray as “safe”, he is now even threatened with the death penalty – like countless other people who are subjected to the terrorist organization’s arbitrary justice system. Apparently because of his travel report, the Taliban accused him of “espionage.” The right-wing extremist scene in Austria is now mobilizing and trying to put pressure on the Foreign Ministry. Last week, F’s family published an online petition calling for diplomatic efforts to secure his release to be stepped up.

“The family is very worried about their father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather,” the petition description says. F. complains about a barren cell without daylight. He had to sleep on a mattress without a blanket on the cold floor. Important blood thinning medications would also not reach him. A new hearing aid is also necessary, otherwise F. could “soon become deaf”.

Shortly after his kidnapping, the right-wing scene in Austria called on the Foreign Ministry to seek F.’s release, as the “Standard” reports. Upon request, the ministry confirmed in June the “arrest of an Austrian citizen who traveled to Afghanistan contrary to the travel warning that had existed for decades.” Efforts are being made to find a solution, but it is also emphasized that “consular assistance in Afghanistan is of course only possible to a very limited extent.”

F. is a right-wing extremist known in Austria. The 84-year-old was a co-founder of the National Democratic Party (NDP), which was banned in 1988, in the 1960s. Among other things, he maintained contact with Holocaust deniers and the ethnic “Identitarian Movement”. According to the Austrian portal “”, he most recently ran a Telegram channel and an “inflammatory blog”. In the travel report he wrote last year, he emphasized the “hustle and bustle in the bazaars.” He didn’t notice any desperation. The paper is considered the mouthpiece of the right-wing scene in Austria. There are also advertisements for right-wing populist parties such as the FPÖ and the AfD. Among other things, it claims that Afghanistan is safe again after the Taliban’s “victory over the US occupiers and their lackeys,” as the “Standard” reports.

Travel reports, like F.’s, are often used by right-wing and right-wing extremist forces to collect supposed arguments that crisis-ridden countries from which refugees come to European countries are actually safe. The argument goes that asylum seekers from these countries can therefore be deported without any problems.

A verdict was originally expected four weeks after the arrest, but this does not appear to have been announced so far. Accordingly, the outcome of F.’s imprisonment is still unclear. Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 2021, they have ruled with an iron hand. Since then, countless people have been executed by the organization. Girls and women are forbidden from attending schools and universities, and harassment and arbitrary punishments are the order of the day.

Sources: Der Standard,