“As soon as the Taliban took over, we quickly ran away from home,” his parents told BuzzFeed News in an email. Their neighbor told them that militiamen broke into their home when they were out and searched the place, asking about them. On the day the Taliban swept through Kabul, Wajdi watched TV reports of people flocking to the airport, and there were rumors of Afghans boarding just because they were in the right place at the right time. That is dangerous, but considering the threats, staying could be even worse.
Wajdi’s parents decided to take a risk. With their young children, they left everything, except a few bags of food and drink, with a neighbor to look after the house. For days, they stayed in areas near the airport, sleeping on the streets to avoid missing any opportunities, and moving from gate to gate based on rumors they heard about where people were. allowed inside. Struggling with paperwork, they called for help from military officials and foreign interpreters. No one interfered.
Wajdi said they kept running out of water while at the airport. “Only people can come through – it’s just you with your documents and your kids. No bags, no luggage. ”
The family spent days camping near the airport, praying to be evacuated. (BuzzFeed News is hiding their names to protect their safety.) Wajdi spent the night on the phone with his mother, who was charging a power bank. Both his father and mother said the same thing: “Son, no progress is going to happen.” He spent days calling anyone who could help—the organizations that supported him, journalists and friends in the US and Europe.
When terrorists bombed Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, murder at least 170 Afghans As well as 13 American service workers, Wajdi’s family is outside the airport – but at another gate, where they can hear an explosion but feel no impact. Now they are in hiding again. Wajdi heard about the bombing – he immediately tried to call but failed to reach his parents. “I was very worried,” he said. Finally, when the cell signal returned, he was able to communicate.
Now that the US has withdrawn from Afghanistan, Wajdi is trying to keep hope alive. Taliban promised allowed Afghans with visas to other countries or foreign passports to depart, but Wajdi did not trust them.
“It was very difficult,” he said. “When you see the situation on TV, when you see the future of your country, it’s really bleak. Think about it, what if one day your parents were executed in front of your eyes? ”
These days, his mind is filled with what-ifs. Wajdi makes too rosy predictions of the Afghan and US governments about the stability of Kabul. “That’s why my mom and dad don’t have passports yet,” he said. “We were not mentally prepared to leave the country.” Had Wajdi not trusted a friend in the Afghan government who sought to assuage his fears that the Taliban would quickly defeat the army, he might have seen this coming.
“It feels like we’re still in a dream,” he said. “How can things change so quickly? I never thought things would fall apart so easily.”