Not consuming, not sleeping, and checking WhatsApp and social media feeds each second has change into the truth for a lot of Afghans within the UK. They’re frantic with fear however say all they will do is stand by and witness the unfolding tragedy with a mounting sense of helplessness.
Dr Mohammad Haqmal, a public well being director and educational who lived below the Taliban in Afghanistan and is now settled within the UK, says his fears for his sisters and brothers and their households trapped in Kabul are too nice to place into phrases.
“I’m getting messages by the evening from my household. Everyone seems to be determined to attempt to escape to India or Pakistan however they can’t accomplish that. We by no means thought issues would return to this example in Afghanistan. I’ve not been in a position to eat something for the previous couple of days. Issues are getting worse and worse. We thought the Afghan authorities would resist however they haven’t.”
He’s additionally distraught on knowledgeable stage. He labored in circumstances of nice adversity when he was a public well being director in Afghanistan on an initiative often known as the $1 undertaking, which saved the lives of two,500 girls over an 18-month interval in two districts with the poorest well being indicators on the earth. He believes the Taliban will undo a lot of that public well being work.
“I used to steer the coed affiliation on the college in Kabul and I attempted to talk to the Taliban. It is vitally troublesome to clarify to individuals right here what it was actually like dwelling below their regime when you haven’t skilled that darkness. Life below the Taliban was like dwelling in a graveyard. I keep in mind a playground was constructed for kids and the Taliban simply tried to interrupt all of the tools. They don’t perceive the right way to use sources. Every thing has gone again to zero. Males are in danger however the threat is best for ladies. We don’t wish to let these silly individuals take over however the world wants to face with us.”
Meetra Qutb, 29, left Afghanistan 4 years in the past to work and research within the UK. She works to assist refugees and migrants, and like different Afghans she is in a distressed state.
“I’ve bought household and many buddies in Afghanistan. A pal in Kabul is messaging me saying she will’t sleep as a result of she is so afraid,” Qutb stated. “Girls have been the principle goal of Taliban violence. The Taliban appear to be behaving in an much more brutal method than they behaved 20 years in the past, in search of younger women to power into marriage. They’re taking pictures and killing individuals for very small causes. The Taliban assume girls are objects who have to be possessed by males. They aren’t educated in Islam and never educated in historical past. They’re a bunch of illiterates. I’m afraid we’ll return to girls being pressured to put on burqas. What they’re saying on social media about girls’s rights is propaganda. It’s not the reality.
“My first reminiscence of the Taliban is once I noticed them lashing girls on the street on their ft as a result of that they had not lined their faces. To this present day I’m nonetheless traumatised from witnessing that. I nonetheless have nightmares in regards to the struggle and the bombing once I was a baby. Our home was shaking when the Taliban bombed us. Tens of millions of kids like me have grown up with that trauma. My message is: please don’t go away the individuals of Afghanistan alone. The worldwide group shouldn’t simply be issuing statements. It is a drawback for all the world. If the worldwide group doesn’t assist, the tragedy goes to be a really massive one. There was a lot of reconstruction within the final 20 years however it’s all being destroyed. Now kids should play within the ruins once more as I used to do as a baby. The hope I had for peace isn’t any extra.”
Many UK Afghans dwell in west London however there are additionally thriving communities in different areas corresponding to Gloucester, the place individuals have arrange small companies promoting pizza or providing stitching repairs.
One man, 32, now settled in Gloucester, who fled Afghanistan to Iran as a baby and got here to the UK in 2005, stated all that Afghans within the UK might do was attempt to get cash collectively to ship to household and buddies in disaster, and attempt to put stress on the worldwide group to behave.
“A terrorist is a terrorist. They don’t have a coronary heart. We are able to’t do a lot from right here however we try to get some cash collectively to ship,” he stated.
A second man, 32, additionally settled in Gloucester, broke down when the Guardian requested him how he was dealing with the unfolding disaster within the nation of his start.
“I used to be 14 once I left Afghanistan. When the Taliban took management once I was a baby, it was so scary we couldn’t even come out of our houses. Taliban would kill individuals even once they had finished nothing fallacious.. They kill with out purpose,” he stated. “Taking a look at what is going on there now, it’s like what occurred once I was a baby. I suffered rather a lot. Each time I watch the information, all I can take into consideration is the kids being killed with no one they will ask for assist.”