Thursday, February 22, 2024

Afghanistan | ‘I was worried about my children’s future’

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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three reformers The Afghans who worked for them Journalism I managed to flee the country by plane in recent days. They recount their agonizing journey between Taliban checkpoints, the chaos outside Kabul airport, and the plight of their compatriots still grappling with bombs in hopes of finding a seat on a plane.

Vincent Laroche

Vincent Laroche

The call came on August 16, the day after the Taliban entered Kabul. Qais’s employer asked him and his family to come to a meeting point where the buses were waiting for them. They had a chance to escape, but they had to leave their homes, friends, and most of their possessions. “They only gave us a few hours,” he says.

Qais (like many Afghans, uses only the first name) had previously worked with him Journalism Such as reformer, a local collaborator who acts as an interpreter and guide, during a report by journalist Mark Thibodeau in Afghanistan. He was now working for a European organization that had promised to take its employees to safety when religious fundamentalists began to take over the country.

He and his wife, four children, picked up their things. They were entitled to three backpacks for all baggage. “Most of the things we brought in were for my 1 year old, 10 month old and my 6 year old,” he says.

The buses set off for Kabul airport, which is controlled by the US military and a number of its allies. The small convoy was stopped at an armed Taliban checkpoint.

“I gave my son my phone and asked him to hide it, as a precaution…I heard they can search through photos, videos and registered phone numbers and that there might be problems,” he says.

A man on the bus came from a tribe that had the most friendly relations with the fighters. Serious. The convoy managed to continue.

The workers tried to reach the northern entrance to the airport, but the crowds who swarmed the door with the force of desperation prevented them from approaching. They wandered and reached the eastern entrance, where they could pass.

A few hours later, we were able to fly in a French military plane. They stopped in Abu Dhabi, then disembarked in Paris. They have since been taken to Spain, and then to Luxembourg.

“We’ve been chosen in Luxembourg, it’s our final destination,” he rejoices.

Abandoned meal on the table

Akbar Shinwari, an Afghan journalist who previously worked for reformer NS Journalism During Laura-Julie Perrault’s report, she recently received threats from the Taliban.

Britain’s ITV channel, from London, had taken him to the Serena Hotel near Kabul Airport to organize his departure from the country. The trip was arranged with the Qatari ambassador, who settled in the hotel and negotiated the safety of a number of travelers with the Taliban.

Akbar Shinwari’s family was about to sit at the table when she was asked to reach the hotel as soon as possible. I hurriedly left, leaving the meal on the table.

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While he was at the hotel waiting to leave with his wife and five children, the journalist heard a knock on his room door. Upon opening, he met face to face with two Taliban militants.

“They asked me if I had worked with the US military. I said I was a journalist and that I only work with the media.” The two men left him alone.

Accompanied by the Qatari ambassador, his group was able to reach the airport and managed to pass through four Taliban checkpoints. Once he reached the US-controlled “Green Zone”, he got emotional.

It was painful to leave my country and see all these educated people, who are a source of strength for the country, who were also leaving.

Akbar Shinwari, an Afghan journalist who previously worked in the field of human rights reformer NS Journalism

His plane landed in Doha, and his family has been staying for a few days in new facilities built for the FIFA World Cup scheduled for next year.

However, he is worried about some of his relatives being left behind. With the crowd in front of the airport and the attack on Thursday, he did not advise them to go and try their luck there. “I will not send them there,” he said. He hopes that a third country like Qatar will continue to provide a safe route for some travelers to the airport.

They say it’s like the end of the world

Walid Fadli, who previously worked reformer NS Journalism During a report by Isabel Hatchey, we just arrived at Washington Airport on Thursday when we were able to get to it. He will be able to rebuild his life in the United States.

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Mr. Fazli had previously received threats from the Taliban because of his journalistic work. He was pessimistic about the future of his country. With the arrival of the Taliban, the city turned dark. I was worried about my children’s future,” he explains.

Since he previously worked for many American TV stations and newspapers as well as at a university in Indiana, he was able to obtain visas for himself, his wife, his parents and his three children.

He also left the Serena Hotel in a convoy cleared of Taliban checkpoints. He was alarmed when he saw the massive crowd at the airport gates.

There are so many people, I wouldn’t have crossed if I hadn’t been on that bus.

Walid Fadli, who previously worked reformer NS Journalism

There are thousands and thousands of people. I spoke to friends who are still here today [jeudi]. There were explosions, they say it’s like the end of the world. Everyone is confused, but people are still trying to get in.

He worries about those who can’t get to the entrance. “There must be a way to help people who do not have transportation. If we abandon them, many will be killed or tortured,” he worries.

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