‘Gunmen were looking for my mum’: daughter of Afghan ex-radio boss | Afghanistan

Farkhunda’s* mom has run a feminist radio station in her conservative province for the most effective half of 20 years, in defiance of Taliban threats. She has three youngsters with disabilities who were compelled to desert their wheelchairs when gunmen attacked their dwelling about two months after the Taliban takeover. They’re in hiding in a metropolis protected home, however don’t know the way they are going to survive long term.

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Afghanistan: the left behind


Afghanistan: the left behind


The crowds combating to get into Kabul airport for evacuation dispersed months in the past,
however whereas the scramble to depart Taliban-controlled Afghanistan grew to become
much less seen when the final overseas troops left in August 2021, it bought no
much less determined.

Since then, reprisal killings have repeatedly been reported from throughout the nation, together with dozens detailed in a recent report from Human Rights Watch.

For these nonetheless in Afghanistan, residing in hiding or in everlasting concern for months now, the hazards appear to be rising because the choices for escape slender.

The UK authorities has tightened guidelines for its ARAP visa programme for former workers.

A second scheme providing a path to security to a wider part of Afghans in danger was heavily promoted by the federal government nevertheless it solely began operating this month, and there are not any particulars of how people can apply.

And whereas the Taliban
have largely saved a promise to permit these with tickets and paperwork
to fly out, Afghan passports are troublesome to safe , visas are even
more difficult, and flights are nonetheless prohibitively costly.

collection options the tales of those that are trapped, in Afghanistan or
in limbo as they search for protected haven, fearing for their lives from
Taliban assaults or by starvation as a result of they can not work.

Emma Graham-Harrison

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When the combating closed in on our metropolis in August we were transferring round – one night time in a single place, one night time in one other place – staying with totally different kinfolk as a result of my mum had acquired loads of threats prior to now.

She had confronted some discrimination, as an ethnic minority in our area, and in addition the Taliban used to ask her: “Why are you, a girl, operating a radio station. It’s best to keep dwelling and take care of your loved ones.”

Once we left our dwelling, we took nothing with us – my sister and brothers are disabled they usually can’t stroll. However finally our kinfolk informed us that regardless that the Taliban are in energy, every part is regular and we are able to come again to our dwelling.


So in October, we returned to the home after two months residing with totally different uncles and aunts. That very same night, late at night time after we were all sleeping, out of the blue we heard gunshots throughout the doorways.

All of us gathered in a single room within the centre of the home that didn’t have home windows, so we were in a position to survive. Within the different rooms the home windows were shot in addition to the doorways, there was glass throughout, however they didn’t attempt to are available – maybe they thought they hit us already.

We needed to depart when the capturing stopped, nevertheless it was too late. The following morning our neighbours got here and stated: “Why did you come again? It’s best to go away instantly.” They thought it was insecure as a result of we had come again and that our household was the rationale why there was gunfire at night time.

We left in such a rush that we couldn’t even take the wheelchairs – we needed to carry my brothers and sisters. They’re grown now. My twin brothers are 19 years previous, and my sister is eighteen, so they’re heavy.

A few week later, the neighbours referred to as and stated some gunmen were looking for my mum, so she went to a rural district and all of us break up up. My dad went to at least one place, my brothers went to an aunt, and I took my sister to a cousin’s home.

After one other month we were reunited in an enormous metropolis, the place we’re staying in a protected home, however issues are actually onerous. We were not ready to return for the wheelchairs, and we might solely take a pair of adjustments of garments, nothing else.

We don’t have cash to purchase something so we’re simply residing in a naked room with carpets on the ground. We’re frightened about our kinfolk at dwelling being at risk as a result of of my mum’s work.

My mom has turned off her telephone now, however she was getting Taliban menace messages saying issues like: “We informed you for years to depart your job however you didn’t, now you might have nowhere to cover.” And one saying: “We are going to come and kill you and burn your radio station.”

We left our dwelling empty, we left the radio station, now there are not any broadcasts or something. My mum beloved her job. She had been operating the radio station since 2004, regardless of getting threats all these years. She solely deserted it now for our safety and so she is in a really devastated psychological state, she has some issues along with her coronary heart and feels sick.

We’re additionally in a horrible financial state of affairs, always worrying about the place our subsequent meal will come from. And since my brothers and sister nonetheless don’t have wheelchairs, me, my father and mom are taking care of them, carrying them on their shoulders when they should transfer.

We’re all in shock. We really feel like we live in a nightmare – how did we transfer from our previous life to this example? A pal has helped us apply to refugee programmes however we didn’t hear again. We don’t know if we are able to get out of Afghanistan, however we don’t know what we are going to do right here.

*The identify has been modified for this text.

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