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Intelligence services warned me I was on Taliban hit list, says Afghan escapee

Written by on 21/08/2021

Those taking off into the sky from Kabul are the lucky ones.

Leaving with their lives – but that’s about it.

From safety in Qatar, one Afghan family describes their escape on Tuesday.

In the dangerous melee outside Kabul airport, someone next to them was shot. Next to their three young children. Yet somehow, with two grandparents in wheelchairs, they got through.

The family’s father, who is a high profile lawyer, said he had been told by Afghan intelligence services he was on a target list.

A member of the Qatar Air force walks next to a boy evacuated from Afghanistan, at Al-Udeid airbase in Doha, Qatar in this recent undated handout. Government Communications Office of the State of Qatar/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Image: A member of the Qatar Air force walks next to a boy evacuated from Afghanistan. File pic: Reuters

“There was a lot of gunfire,” he said. “The Taliban were firing in the air trying to spread people. It’s obviously not easy for the kids to see that. They had never seen it from that close distance that someone would be shooting with an AK-47.

“We saw one person shot in the leg very close to us. I don’t know how the bullet came in but he was right next to us. He was bleeding. So many people were bleeding from the Taliban when they were trying to get in. We were just lucky.”

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They left with the clothes on their backs. Everything else is gone. They couldn’t withdraw any cash, they left a beautiful home, a successful business, colleagues, friends.

Leaving wasn’t a choice this family felt they had. Even before the Taliban had reached Kabul the father had received several threats.

He spoke to Sky News on condition of anonymity because his hope is to one day return home.

As he tells me his story he breaks down in tears.

The scenes outside Kabul airport
Image: The scenes outside Kabul airport

“I couldn’t complete my education without borrowing money from people… I started this practice by myself. And soon we became the best law firm in the country.

“I had a lot of money in my account. I was helping anyone who was asking for help. But then all of a sudden I lost everything,” he said.

“And it’s not easy to start again from scratch. And I really don’t agree with this that you got out, but now do what?

“The kind of life that I was used to, the kind of life that I provided for my family, I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again.”

The family has been offered asylum in Canada. Even that plan still feels a long way off. Totally reliant on support for every meal, for getting through each day.

The children can’t understand why they are here when they had everything they wanted at home.

As we’re speaking a cup of tea appears for us. When you’re given such generous hospitality from people who have nothing it’s a humbling, emotional moment.

evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pic: AP
Image: Those who managed to leave Afghanistan are the lucky ones. Pic: AP

In the silence of the sparse surroundings, the children can be heard giggling. They’re excited by the camera. Oblivious of what they’ve escaped.

A generation who’ve never known the Taliban.

A family who now only have each other.

And a nation anxious of what comes next.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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