Kabul Collapse Tears Families Apart

Just a year ago, Farhad Wajidi was in Kabul with his parents and siblings, running a non-profit organization that lined up local women with street food carts.

He was attracting international media headlines and gaining the support of US-based NGOs and the Afghan government. But now, the Taliban. Back to power In the country, which, according to US or Afghan officials, happened faster than possible, it damaged the family’s fortunes and tore them apart between the two countries.

United States On Monday, it withdrew its last remaining troops from Afghanistan., Signaling the end of its 20-year war in the country. But the legacy of US action in the country will live on for families like Wajdi, as well as for their horrific, often tragic consequences. Wajidi’s organization has received coverage at outlets such as the Guardian, BBC News, and Al Jazeera, as well as recognition and funding from international organizations such as the Asia Foundation in the United States and Global Citizen. The Afghan government even donated the profitable motorcycles back to the non-profit organization. But it was this attention that finally forced him to leave his country last year – and now he is putting his family in danger.

Wajdi lives in Virginia, where he sought refuge last year after his life was threatened by ISIS militants, he said. He took her to the United States before his parents and siblings, and he planned to come with them – but none of them realized how little time he had left before the fall of the government. Are Ever since the Taliban. Came to powerWajidi’s family has been in hiding, and he has contacted everyone he knows and tries to get them out. Many people and organizations tried, but nothing worked.

Her family’s lunch box, a non-profit, enables pedestrians in Kabul to sell instant lunches such as pasta and rice. Street food is popular in Kabul, but it is usually sold by men. Wajidi said that when he started the organization in 2010 with the help of his family, one of the problems was that women had to drive themselves, which was a taboo. “Culturally, pushing a cart is considered bad for a woman,” she said.

Thanks to Farhad Wajdi

Waji is talking to the women who drove the food trucks before they fled Afghanistan.

As a result, Wajidi and his father, who knew about electronics, worked together to design vehicles powered by solar panels. He said his mother consulted and helped the cart sellers. Wajidi said she faced verbal abuse and intimidation, but the carts helped her earn money for her family, which made a big difference, especially to those who were widows.

Last year, after Afghanistan went into lockdown due to Cove 19 and street food vendors could no longer work, there were carts. Convert to mobile disinfection units.

“Seeing that my mother has empowered herself has helped me to make it clear that I have to help as many women as I can,” Wajidi said.

But not everyone supported the plan. Last summer, Wajidi received threatening phone calls.

“With fame came a threat to us,” he said. “Someone called me from a private number and said you were promoting Western ideology in Afghanistan.”

More calls. At first he didn’t take them seriously. But then he received a Facebook message, which he shared with BuzzFeed News and “threatened to target.” [his] Workplace and home “and that” his “final destination will be hell. The account that sent him, which is still on Facebook, identified itself as part of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, a regional affiliate of ISIS that uses the region’s historic name for modern-day Afghanistan. “And Wajdi is being targeted for employing Hazara minority women as cart sellers. If you surrender to us, we will punish you,” the message said. Can reduce.

“I was scared,” Wajdi said. He closed his office and drove about 40 cars near his home. Her parents took the threats seriously. Years of living through war had shown them what they had to do.

The family decided that Wajidi would move to Virginia to seek asylum, as he had already obtained a tourist visa to the United States and had an uncle who lived there. Her parents, who did not have a US visa, could not accompany her.

It was a confusing decision, but at the time, Wajidi assumed he could eventually help his parents get involved. But then everything changed.

“As soon as the Taliban took over, we quickly left our home,” her parents told BuzzFeed News in an email. His neighbor told him that the militants had entered his house while he was out and searched the place, asking about him. The day the Taliban passed through Kabul, Wajd saw news on TV that people were streaming at the airport, and there were rumors that Afghans were arriving at the right place at the right time. It was dangerous, but considering the dangers, it could be worse.

Wajidi’s parents decided to put him in danger. With their young children, they left everything except a few bags of food and drink, asking a neighbor to keep an eye on the house. For several days, they stayed in the vicinity of the airport, sleeping on the streets so as not to miss any opportunity, and rumors were circulating that people were being allowed to enter as they walked from gate to gate. Waving the paperwork, he shouted for help from foreign military officials and spokesmen. No one will interfere.

Wajidi said he was running out of water at the airport. “Only people can pass – it’s just your documents and your children. No bags, no luggage.”

The family camped near the airport, praying for evacuation. (BuzzFeed News is blocking his name to protect him.) His parents kept saying the same thing: “Son, no progress is being made.” He spent the day calling anyone who could possibly help – the foundations that helped him, journalists and friends in the United States and Europe.

When a terrorist. Bombing Hamid Karzai assassinated at the international airport on Thursday. At least 170 AFN Along with 13 U.S. service members, Wajidi’s family was outside the airport – but at a different gate, where they could hear the blast but did not feel the effects. They are now in hiding again. Wajid heard the news about the bombing – he immediately tried to call but could not reach his parents. “I was very upset,” he said. Eventually, when the cell signal returned, he was able to communicate.

Now that the United States has withdrawn from Afghanistan, Wajidi is trying to have hope. Taliban What is the promise Afghans with visas or foreign passports from other countries should be allowed to go, but Wajidi does not believe them.

“It’s very difficult,” he said. “When you watch the situation on TV, when you see the future of your country, it feels really sad. What do you think, if one day your parents are hanged in front of your eyes?

What’s on his mind these days? Wajidi rejects the more rosy estimates made by the Afghan and US governments about the stability of Kabul. “That’s why my mother and father didn’t already have passports,” he said. We were not mentally ready to leave the country. If Wajidi had not trusted a friend of the Afghan government who had tried to allay fears that the Taliban would quickly defeat the army, he might have seen it coming.

“It feels like we’re still in a dream,” he said. “How is it possible that things change so quickly? I never thought everything would fall apart so easily.

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