'I'm a Professor in Afghanistan, Now Looking for Any Job Just To Feed My Family'

'I have exhausted all my savings. With no salary for two months, my family is eying starvation'

My Report
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Arnica Kala

Nobody knows what lies ahead but everyone hopes for a good future. But if you are an Afghan, living under the rule of the Taliban, all you expect is to somehow live and not get killed by a bullet.

Before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, I was teaching at a university as an assistant professor since 2013, and had been taking the classes online for the past one year.

Now, things are not the same as they used to be. I haven’t received my salary for almost two months, and 20 days ago, I exhausted all my savings. And now my family is starving.

To feed my one and four-year-old kids everyday is a challenge. For the last 20 days, I have just been borrowing food and other essentials from the people I know in the bazaar, promising them that I will repay once I have money. God knows when will I have the money to pay and without money, I am not sure how long can our family survive.

My Brother also has two kids and we are 12 members in the family, including my sister. All of us are eyeing starvation.

Four days ago, my mother, ailing from asthma, was not feeling well and needed treatment. Hesitantly, unsure of how I would make the payment, I took her to the hospital. The doctor checked her parameters and gave her some medicines.

The professor was unable to pay the hospital bill.

(Illustration: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

"When I was asked to make the payment, I could do nothing but plead them to forgive us from not paying the bill. I promised to pay them when I have the money. Thankfully, they agreed and allowed me to go."

I don’t know for how long we are going to live like this.

There were around 2,300 health clinics run by World Health Organization across Afghanistan. Most of them have collapsed because funds have stopped coming.

For a week now, me and my brother, who is an engineer, have been going to the bazaar to look for a job. Sadly, luck and happiness have turned their backs towards us. We have failed to get any kind of job.

For almost a week now, the professor and his brother have been unsuccessfully looking for any job in the market.

(Illustration: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

"The Taliban claims that they have changed and have become more liberal and they care about everyone’s rights. Believe me, all of this is a big lie."

I was 10 years old when the Taliban first came to power in 1995. In 2021, I see no difference. Most of the members of this cabinet are those same people from 1995.

It was only yesterday that I heard the announcement made on the streets by a Talib asking women to stay inside their houses.

Taliban making announcement asking women to stay inside their house.

(Illustration: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

Yesterday (9 September), I saw a terrible photo of two Afghan journalists – naked, beaten, and bruised. They were punished for covering the women's rights protest in Kabul.

Two Afghan journalists punished by Taliban for covering Kabul protests.

With all this, how do we trust the Taliban and believe their claims to have become more liberal, tolerant, and accepting?

Despite all of this, I am not going to run away from Afghanistan, because I want to work for my country and I know there is always a light at the end of every tunnel.

"Life is hard, times are tough but my spirit has not died."

I have a lot of hopes from India. India is our bada bhai (elder brother). I request the Indian government to not cut ties and shut diplomatic channels with Afghanistan. We have received a lot of support from India and we expect that to continue. Inshallah, slowly but surely we will get back to normal.

(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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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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