"Where are you? Help me!": Families describe Afghan relatives' fear

17 August 2021, 18:15 | Updated: 17 August 2021, 18:18

By Elizabeth Haigh

Relatives of Afghan citizens report feeling fear and panic for their loved ones in Afghanistan.

Said Alarm, who has lived in the UK for almost 20 years, says his mother, children, wife and extended family are in Afghanistan. He describes it as a "very bad situation".

"The Taliban has no respect for the women, no respect for the children, no respect for the people.

"To be honest now you don’t have any opportunities in Afghanistan. We lose everything."

He added: "now I am very very scared about my family and my country."

He described how his children cry whenever he speaks to them on the phone. "My kids crying and saying 'where are you, help me, help me', but I’m here, no flight."

He expressed fears over the lack of women’s rights under Taliban rule, saying his female relatives are staying at home out of fear. Mr Alarm stated it is “not possible” that the Taliban has changed.

Sheekeba Nasini echoed Mr Alarm’s fears. She described the situation in Afghanistan: "emotions are very high, everyone is very fearful."

She said that her mother’s family are all in Afghanistan, including her grandparents, cousins and aunties. "They’ve been unable to go to work, my cousins have stopped going to school. They’re all fearful, they’ve locked themselves in, they’re sort of imprisoned in their own homes."

Miss Nasini was doubtful that the Taliban has changed since being in power 20 years ago. "What I’m hearing and what my family is saying is completely different. My aunties have stopped going to school, they’re teachers. My cousins are not going to school, I mean doesn’t that show something completely different to what they’re actually saying?"

She described the UK-US withdrawal as "quite irresponsible". "You’ve left and you’ve let the country burn down and the whole of the 20 years has become a waste within a week."

In an appeal to PM Boris Johnson, she asked him "to not leave Afghanistan alone, not at this time. We need your help, the country needs it now."

Meanwhile, Yusuf Mahmoud’s wife of just two months was one of many Afghans at Kabul airport on 16 August, from which dramatic scenes of Afghans climbing on to US planes emerged.He explained that they were waiting on a British visa in order for his wife to join him in the UK.

"She was at the airport… there was some firing, she was in quite a dangerous place. The window was broken by the fire and she was under glass and she got injured."

He said that his wife was at the airport from 9 pm to 7 am, but has now returned home. He is trying to find a way to get out of Afghanistan. "People are very desperate to get out the country and go somewhere safe."

Mr Mahmoud said that he is "scared" for his wife. The couple are in contact "every half an hour, every hour, just make sure she’s ok, she’s home. It’s very scary because every time I call her if for some reason I don’t get through I start panicking.
“She’s very very scared, in fact she’s very panicky at the moment and very stressed."

He also appealed to the UK Prime Minister: "I need my wife here… I deserve to have my partner here with me today."