Posted on Saturday August 28, 2021 | 00:36
Updated 10 hours and 48 minutes ago
MADRID (AP) – Until last week, Shabeer Ahmadi was busy covering the news in Afghanistan. But after a hasty and excruciating decision to leave his Taliban-controlled country for an uncertain future in Spain, he is helpless to stream the news on his cellphone, following every twist of the dramatic end to the evacuation of Afghans from Kabul. .
The 29-year-old journalist and nine relatives managed to board one of the evacuation planes and are now undergoing a lengthy asylum procedure while starting a new life in a town in northern Spain. But the future of thousands of Afghans who could not escape, including members of his own family, is now at the center of his fears, Ahmadi said.
âThere is a feeling of hopelessness in Afghanistan,â he said. âImagine if you had built a building for 20 years now, that building is destroyed and you cannot get out of this building. It hurts. Our education, our hopes for ourselves, for our children, for our future, for our country are all destroyed.
Tolo News, the private Afghan media outlet where Ahmadi worked as deputy news director, was targeted by the Taliban. But it is not only him who feels threatened in his immediate circle: Ahmadi’s mother is a lawyer. His father, a former journalist. And his brother, an engineer, worked on hydropower production, an infrastructure crucial to the functioning of the conflict-torn country.
Earlier this month, as the Taliban siege ended on Kabul, the family began applying for emergency visas for several countries. Spain was the first to react, thanks to the mediation of a Spanish journalist with whom Ahmadi befriended in Kabul.
Ahmad and his relatives had a rough day amid the crowds crowding outside Kabul airport – and another inside, sleeping among hundreds on the floor – before the 10 were allowed to go to leave, although some of them did not have passports.
âWhen I got on the plane, I thought finally, thank God, I was safe. But what happens to the other people who remain in Afghanistan? “, He asked by videoconference from Huesca, where the group was relocated Thursday, the day after its landing in Madrid.
âThere are people calling me to tell me that there is no more government or Taliban salary now. And the banks are closed and they cannot afford the evacuation of their families, âthe journalist said.
He explained that as foreign troops retreated from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, many of his acquaintances were looking for alternatives to leave Afghanistan via Iran and Pakistan.
The former correspondent thinks the future of Afghanistan is bleak. He blames, in large part, the US administration of Joe Biden for pushing forward the decision to step down.
“Because they couldn’t negotiate a good deal with the Taliban, the United States handed us over to the Taliban, to a group that has ties to so many terrorist groups around the world,” he said. declared. “They have abandoned the new generation of Afghanistan.”
He fears that a “very bloody war” could break out between the Taliban and ISIS in the months and years to come, attracting foreign extremist fighters and leaving millions of innocent lives caught in the conflict.
This is why leaving Afghanistan, he said, âhurts every momentâ. But he couldn’t work for the future of his country while his life was on the line, he added. And yet, if things calm down to some extent, if a government is formed that guarantees certain conditions even while the Taliban retains control, he plans to return home.
âI always tell my friends that any strong country is strong because of the people who work there, so we cannot leave our country forever,â Ahmadi said.
“We are a generation that has not seen a single day without war in Afghanistan, but if you want our future generations to see such a day, we must work for our country.”