‘In Kabul there’s no justice’: the female student who fled to Pakistan – The Guardian

After the collapse of the Afghan capital, Amina says what followed was worse than she could imagine

Amina* used to work for an NGO in Kabul while studying at university. She was forced to flee to Pakistan with her family once the Taliban took over. She remains trapped and fearful for her and her sisters’ future.
Afghanistan: the left behind
The crowds fighting to get into Kabul airport for evacuation dispersed months ago, but while the scramble to leave Taliban-controlled Afghanistan became less visible when the last foreign troops left in August 2021, it got no less desperate.
Since then, reprisal killings have regularly been reported from across the country, including dozens detailed in a recent report from Human Rights Watch.
For those still in Afghanistan, living in hiding or in permanent fear for months now, the dangers seem to be increasing as the options for escape narrow.
The UK government has tightened rules for its ARAP visa programme for former employees.
A second scheme offering a path to safety to a wider section of Afghans at risk was heavily promoted by the government but it only began operating this month, and there are no details of how individuals can apply.
And while the Taliban have largely kept a promise to allow those with tickets and documents to fly out, Afghan passports are difficult to secure , visas are even more challenging, and flights are still prohibitively expensive.
This series features the stories of those who are trapped, in Afghanistan or in limbo as they search for safe haven, fearing for their lives from Taliban attacks or through hunger because they cannot work.
Emma Graham-Harrison

I currently live in Pakistan with my family. Before I left Afghanistan, I was working as a programme administrator for an NGO and I also studied business at university. When the Taliban took over, I had no certain future. My education was not clear; my school was closed.
I was happy before the Taliban took over. This semester we were supposed to have in-person classes. We had online classes because of the coronavirus, but it was so difficult because we didn’t have a good internet connection. So I was like a child preparing for the first day of school when we got told we could come back to the class. I was so happy and ready to go and sit in my class and learn. What followed was worse than I could ever imagine.
I never thought that everything could vanish like that. My sister is in grade 12 and supposed to graduate high school. But after the collapse of Kabul, we had no choice but to leave. I don’t see any future for her. When I see her, my tears come. I can’t control them. She does not have any future and as a sister I can’t do anything for her.
In Kabul, I was always wandering around my room. Sometimes at midnight, I’d wake up and think of what comes next. I was always praying for God to save my siblings, to save my parents. We decided to leave a month ago when we saw the situation getting worse; people are dying in the streets and their homes, and there’s no justice. There is no certainty and no security. We didn’t know when or for what reason we would be killed.
We left the country and we came here [to Pakistan], but the struggle is the same. I don’t see any future for myself or for my siblings. But I am at least happy; I saved my life and my family’s. I applied for the UK evacuation scheme because of my work and my [other] sister is an artist and journalist. But still we have not heard anything specific from them. Sometimes I receive emails but as much as I reply, they do not respond telling me exactly what I should do.
We are just waiting here. I wish I could explain the difficulties we go through. We don’t have a place to live, everything is more expensive and people live on the street, and you don’t know the language. My siblings don’t have any access to school. It is like being imprisoned in a house, in a room.
I wish I could tell the UK government there’s so many other people who are waiting for a better future or so many other people who are displaced. I wish I could show them the pain and the uncertainty. We don’t have any other options. We can’t go back to our country but we can’t continue to live here.
*The name has been changed for this article.

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