The plans of Arshad, a 25-year-old Afghani student from Mysuru to meet his family in October are dashed after the Taliban seized complete control of Afghanistan and the capital city Kabul. Arshad fears for his family’s safety and future with the Taliban declaring the Emirate of Afghanistan to be governed in accordance with strict Islamic Sharia law. He is desperate to be with them during this hour of crisis.
“When I left Aghanistan for India six months ago, suicide bombing and terror attacks were a common sight. With the Taliban’s return, the situation will become worse. It’s sad that our government gave in without a fight. I am in constant touch with my family since the Taliban took charge. Although they say that there is no violence at the moment, many have confined themselves indoors, fearing for their life. I was hoping to head back home in October. But my family has asked me to stay put until the situation improves,” says Arshad as he hopes for the safety of his family of four sisters and three brothers.
“The last time they came to power, they did not keep any of their promises. Now, they assure the world that women will be entitled to freedom within the ambit of the Islamic law. Going by their history, it is hard to trust their words. Ever since they took over, schools, hospitals and universities have remained closed,” he adds.
Arshad’s family runs an English-medium school in Afghanistan. With all education institutes shut for the past month, Arshad fears the worst. “I was teaching English and have an undergraduate degree in the subject. Out of 100 students, 60 were girls. Most of our teachers are women. When my family reached them to ask if they would return to work, all of them denied fearing the Taliban,” he said.
Arshad is unsure if his higher education would serve any purpose now. “I am pursuing a postgraduate degree in journalism. My country already has no jobs. I am disillusioned and wondering what is the purpose of my education now. I might seek a job here but bringing my family to India is not the solution. What will happen to the other 36 million people? We have property, relatives and friends there. How can families relocate so easily?” he questions.
According to the Karnataka police, 192 Afghan nationals are in Karnataka on student visas. The concerns of other students are similar.
“My family has asked me to stay put and not return at the moment. The Taliban has promised that women will be allowed to work and study. We cannot trust them because of their previous history. Women of my country have come a long way to reach where they are today. I shudder to think what will happen to the girl children and women of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. If the Taliban continues with its subjugation of women, I will choose a different country for work and try to get my family relocated,” said Shazia (name changed), another student.News, States