Don't give up: Afghan relatives in the UK reach out to help

Recent days have been a chaotic mix of frustration and fear for Afghans trying to flee their families.

Don't give up: Afghan relatives in the UK reach out to help

Many relatives in west London are trying to do what they can by seeking information and advice from the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association. This organization was established to help refugees in 2000, the same year that a U.S-led international force expelled the Taliban from power following the 9/11 attacks.

Shah Hamdam, 52, arrived in the U.K. via Pakistan in 1998 after fleeing Afghanistan. He said that he would do anything for his sister, a TV journalist, to escape Kabul.

Hamdam stated, "She is beggaring." Hamdam said that she was begging for help.

Hamdam hasn’t seen his sister in three years since he went back to Afghanistan to attend their mother’s funeral.

The father of four stated, "I love her so deeply and I will do whatever it takes to bring her home with her family,"

With the U.S. still planning to have all its troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, there's a mad scramble to get out -- and a corresponding sense of dread among Afghan families already abroad. On Saturday, hundreds of people waited outside Kabul's international airport. They were holding documents and some children looked a bit stunned.

Families of those who didn't make it on the flight will be hopeful that the Taliban keep their word and not target those who have helped Western troops in the past 20 years.

Nilufar Nasrti (47) is concerned about her family, as some of her relatives worked for the Afghan government. She said they are afraid to go to bed at night.

From London, Nasrti stated "Dangerous." "If the Taliban enter the house, they'll kill you."

Britain, like other countries, is trying to evacuate Afghan citizens and allies. However, the U.S. deadline is looming in front of it, making it a race against the clock. There are approximately 5,000 Afghan allies who have been earmarked to get a seat on a plane, in addition to the roughly 4,000 U.K. citizens.

On Wednesday, Britain had evacuated over 2,000 Afghans as well as 300 U.K. citizens. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, has stated that the U.K. government has been evacuating around 1,000 people per day since then. Many of these were Afghan citizens, to whom we owe debts for gratitude and honor.

The British government has also announced a refugee settlement program that would allow up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans, primarily women and children, to seek sanctuary in the U.K. in the next few years, including 5,000 this year. This figure is not counting the Afghan allies that Britain is trying now to evacuate.

Critics claim the plan is too timid and doesn't even come close to matching Britain’s responsibility for Afghan workers.

Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi is the founder and director at the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association. He believes that Britain should be more ambitious. His group has received hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls from Afghans, many of them tourists caught up in the chaos.

Nasimi stated that the Taliban will torture and humiliate those who were working with Western organisations.

Since he fled Afghanistan in 1999 with his family, the Taliban were in control in Afghanistan, he knows what their experiences are.

Qadria, a 38 year-old outreach worker who helped Afghan women settle in Britain, has terrible memories of the Taliban's fall. She recalls the horrors of living under the Taliban's first form in the 1990s, before she fled the country at 19.

Saeedi said that she is stressed and worried about her sister and brother in Afghanistan. It is difficult to remember their faces (of Taliban fighters), and how they dress up. It's scary. It's terrible.

Saeedi had made a promise to her father that she would visit him in Afghanistan this coming year.

She said, "Unfortunately I don't believe I will see him again."

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