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Monday, March 27, 2023

I fled Afghanistan 18 months ago with my brother and sister – we haven’t seen our parents since

I’ll always remember the final day I noticed my mom and father.

It was August 2021 and the Talibanhad been taking on in Afghanistan. We had been at Kabul airport making an attempt to get on a flight in a foreign country. The military was utilizing tear gasoline, there was taking pictures, they usually had been spraying water on folks. We couldn’t see one another – it was terrifying. 

I used to be holding tight onto my youthful sister and brother, however within the chaos, we grew to become separated from our dad and mom. I used to be 18 years outdated, my brother was 16, and my sister was eight. I haven’t seen my mom or father since, which was over a yr and a half in the past.

So I wish to say – in case your mum is close to to you, please go and have fun along with her at present on Mom’s Day.

Now, I can solely message her however I can’t have fun in individual. I’m ready for the day after I might be along with her once more.

Earlier than the Taliban takeover, my household and I lived within the centre of Kabul. I had simply completed my very own research and I used to be instructing youngsters.

After our Authorities collapsed, we noticed white Taliban flags exterior a few of the home windows in our space and we knew that they supported the militant group. This was a scary second – realising our neighbourhood had these members.

We believed that they’d already recognized me as a faculty instructor and had seen me going to work. The Taliban assume ladies ought to keep at dwelling and never work or examine, so I used to be frightened about what would occur to me.

On prime of that, my father ran a enterprise renting out retailers in a market, which made us a goal as a result of he used to work with western firms and the Taliban wished to take it over. My brother was susceptible to violence (he had already been attacked), and I used to be susceptible to pressured marriage.

A few of my aunts and uncles reside within the UK they usually had been really on vacation in Afghanistan on the time. So we determined that we needed to try to go away and we thought we would be capable of get to the UK with them.

On the airport, there was full chaos and large crowds – it was very troublesome to go from one part to a different. I put headphones on the ears of my little sister to try to cease her listening to the taking pictures. However even after, she nonetheless suffered from shock.

Within the crush – at one checkpoint managed by the Afghan military – I used to be in a position to drag my brother and sister with me into the airport, however my dad and mom had been left exterior. We had been taken by the US Military forces. I used to be shouting and screaming that I wished my dad and mom with us. I used to be so fearful about my mom as a result of she has bronchial asthma and struggles with respiratory.

I informed the troopers that my mum and pop had been exterior. However they stated if I went to be with them, I wouldn’t get again into the airport.

So we received on a flight. We went through the United Arab Emirates, the place we had been in a position to recharge our telephones and I attempted to contact my household, however I couldn’t. At that second, I felt like I had misplaced my mom.

That they had been utilizing tear gasoline close to the airport and I fearful she’d had an bronchial asthma assault. I felt utterly hopeless.  

Once we received to Heathrow, I noticed on the information that there had been an enormous suicide assault at Kabul airport, wherein over 170 Afghans died. It was a terrifying second for me.

Zulikha Zazai headshot
I’ve taken on the accountability of taking care of my brother and sister (Image: Zulikha Zazai)

After we arrived within the UK, we had been positioned in a resort. For a complete week, we had no thought the place our dad and mom had been, and we had nothing to do all day aside from fear about them.

They lastly managed to get in contact with us by means of my uncle’s Fb – we spoke to them and discovered they’d moved as a result of our flat had been destroyed. It was looted by individuals who took virtually every part – TV, carpet, furnishings.

My dad and mom aren’t protected in Afghanistan. The Taliban questioned them about the place we had been and took their telephones too. They discovered our numbers – mine and my brother’s – and this made them extra suspicious. 

My dad has needed to change his telephone quantity 10 occasions. On prime of getting bronchial asthma, my mum has diabetes too, however it’s troublesome for her to go exterior to the hospital. That’s as a result of the Taliban don’t let ladies go away the home alone and my father can’t go away both as a result of it’s not protected for him. The entire scenario is horrible – they’ve moved to a safer space, however in every single place is harmful.

Within the UK, I’ve taken on the accountability of taking care of my brother and sister. My little sister used to cry within the morning and say that she doesn’t wish to go to high school as a result of she desires her mum and pop. I might reply: ‘Don’t fear, our mum and pop are coming. At some point.’

After I see my sister so unhappy, I can’t management myself. My brother additionally desires and desires his dad and mom. It’s onerous residing with such uncertainty.

After a very long time in numerous inns, I moved into my own residence with my brother and sister in Yorkshire. It’s actually robust for me. I’m 19 years outdated now however I’m like a mum to my siblings. I clear the home and cook dinner, however I largely keep at dwelling and take a look at folks exterior. I’ve began a brand new course, however how can I concentrate on my training? 

I’ve requested the Residence Workplace to assist convey my dad and mom over and I’ve spoken with three or 4 completely different attorneys. All of them say to only wait, however it’s now 19 months since we final noticed them. It’s insufferable.

My message for the UK Authorities is: ‘Please simply convey my mum and pop over. We simply want a visa for them.’ The UK Authorities is highly effective.

All folks ought to have rights, it shouldn’t matter in the event that they got here on the Afghan Relocations and Help Coverage (ARAP) for individuals who labored with the navy, or the Afghan Residents Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), like we did.

I’m a human. I’ve ache, household, and emotions – similar to everyone else. I do know many different Afghan households who had been separated from shut household too.

The issue appears to be that nobody feels our ache. The Authorities ought to hold its promise to assist Afghan folks and alter the unfair guidelines to permit refugee youngsters to convey our dad and mom to security.

Sooner or later, I’d like to review and work with computer systems. If my dad and mom come to the UK, I can go to varsity, get a full-time job and have alternatives like different younger folks.

This Mom’s Day, I hope for each household and each mum to be close to to her youngsters.

I hope that by this similar time subsequent yr, I might be reunited with my household.

The Refugee Council is campaigning to reunite separated refugee households, as a part of The Households Collectively Coalition – you could find out extra on their web site right here.

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