Afghanistan Live: Last Dedicated Civilian Flight to UK Left Kabul, Defense Ministry Says | World news
Wazhma left everything behind to escape the Taliban regime after the extremist group took control of Afghanistan, yearning for a “threat-free” life in the United States.
At a facility in the United Arab Emirates, temporarily housing Afghan evacuees heading to other countries, the 21-year-old medical student has struggled to overcome the terror she has endured over the past few days at home.
“My husband worked for the US Embassy. [The Taliban] would have killed us if we had stayed, ”Wazhma told AFP just hours before boarding a flight to the United States.
I only took the clothes on me. Nothing more.
She was among tens of thousands of evacuees who fled the capital, Kabul, after the Taliban arrived and deployed to the streets in mid-August.
Wazhma, her husband, her brother-in-law and her little nephew spent “the longest three days” of their lives on the road, moving in secret until they reached the gates of Kabul airport. , where American personnel await them.
“The situation was very bad. Thank goodness we are safe, ”she said, holding her baby nephew firmly in her arms. When asked if she would ever return, she replied:
Never, only if the Taliban leave. I’m glad to be gone. The only thing that worries me now is my mom, dad, sister and brother.
Another evacuee, Naim, a father of five who worked as a translator for the US military, immediately went into hiding when the Taliban captured the capital on August 15.
He and his family managed to escape to the airport, where they spent three nights until an American plane brought them to the United Arab Emirates.
“We were afraid they would kill us,” the 34-year-old man, sitting next to his wife, three daughters and two sons, told AFP.
I took only my children’s clothes and our identity papers. We lost everything, the carpets, the sofas, the baby clothes. All gone. I just want my kids to have a good life.
Other Afghan men, women and children dressed in masks were gathered at the premises in Abu Dhabi, waiting nervously before heading to the airport to board a flight to the United States.
A young girl waited patiently for her turn for a physical, swinging her legs back and forth as she played with a teddy bear.
Dozens more flocked, queuing at the entrance to the facility, waiting to be checked in by Emirati employees.
Gulf countries – including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar – which host US and other Western forces, were instrumental in the evacuation efforts, providing Afghans with a critical passage to new lives in third countries.
The United Arab Emirates said Thursday it had helped evacuate 28,000 people from Afghanistan, adding that it was temporarily hosting 8,500 evacuees until they made it to the United States in a few days.
About 109,000 people have left the country by plane since August 14, the day before the Taliban came to power, according to the US government.
Some countries – including France, Britain and Spain – announced the end of their airlifts on Friday, following other countries like Canada and Australia earlier in the week.
The UN has said it is preparing for a “worst case scenario” of half a million more refugees from Afghanistan by the end of 2021.