'I Have No Way Back Home; Please Look for Indians Stuck Beyond Kabul'
An Indian stranded in Afghanistan shares his fear of Taliban and describes the situation in the city.
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editors: Sandeep Suman, Mohd Irshad Alam
Voice Over: Himmat Shaligram
I shifted to Afghanistan from Nagpur, India, in February 2021 and have been employed at a private hospital since March. I came here alone after finishing my MBBS degree. Since April 2021, when US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, an impending sense of doom has prevailed in its provinces. No one, however, thought the day would come so soon.
I was fortunate to have got great respect as a doctor here, even having treated two patients in April, who had escaped the Taliban to lead another life. The situation has escalated swiftly since; by early August, locals became desperate, looking for a way out. I, too, have been trying to flee by any means possible since the first week of this month, having almost succeeded on 11 August.
Flights are not easily available in the city I am in and most airports have been captured by the Taliban. When the Indian Embassy alerted me and one other for a flight that day, we felt a momentary relief, but the worst was not over.
The airport was 26 km away from my residence and no taxi driver could be trusted. Fortunately, my boss arranged a car, but by the time I reached the airport, the plane was in the air. I had lost the only opportunity to return home to my family, to safety.
The next day, ie, 12 August, I was not able to reach the airport again due to logistical issues. But this time, the flight was cancelled and the airport was captured. I starkly remember the time.
It was 5.15 pm when the Taliban entered the city and captured it within 30 minutes. The police headquarters near my house had surrendered. Outside my window now, I can see an erstwhile police truck patrolling the area. On it, a Talib fighter with a gun.
I wonder, if I would meet the same end as fellow Indian Danish Siddiqui?
I do feel calm in some moments because of my boss, who is arranging meals every day, thereby reducing the need to venture out. I am only required at the hospital in emergencies. But every waking minute, I wish to return to India, where I can feel safe again.
The only way out is to reach Kabul in any way I can, and I have even considered traveling in a burqa. The idea was immediately dropped due to the fear of being caught or worse, killed.
Even since Kabul fell to the Taliban, I have had no way to communicate with the Indian Embassy. Over the past three days, I have called all numbers that were flashing on the news, tried to find a way out via personal sources on WhatsApp. My family has been trying to arrange a return and is in constant touch with the MEA. At the moment, it truly feels like a battle lost.
While I have not given up hope, my family is worried sick as I am the only son of my parents. I want to request the Indian authorities to seek out its citizens living beyond Kabul in smaller pockets and provinces of Afghanistan – Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif as Indians await rescue.
(As told to Maaz Hasan)
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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