I am from Kabul. It is a very nice city, when you see Afghanistan in the news it is completely different. If you go there and live there, people are very friendly. It was a very nice place to live.

I like my culture, we help each other. Our religion says you must take care of your neighbours, you are all family. Also Kabul is a very nice place it is surrounded by mountains. In the summer in the hot weather you can see snow on the mountains and it makes a nice view.

I was a firefighter at Kabul International Airport and when the Government collapsed I was on duty. Because of the Covid-19 we worked 3 months inside the airport because we don’t want to bring C-19 inside the base. Three months on duty and then two months off. When the Government collapsed on the 15th August I was on duty, it was very scary.

We didn’t believe that it would happen like this. I was on duty when the Government collapsed. We heard the Taliban were taking the province but sometimes they come forward and the national army push them back. But this time it was very quick and we couldn’t believe it.

We worked, our firefighter rule to is to help people. We cannot leave the station and go to family because we feel that others need our help. The couldn’t leave, without the fire station the aircraft can not land and take off. We work until the 25th August. It was not good to leave the airport, my colleagues felt the same. I left on the 26th with my family.

My family all the time called me and were worried about me. They asked me if it was too dangerous and whether I should leave. But I said people need us. People that came here to the airport had family too and they needed us.

It is not easy to leave and go somewhere with a different culture. I know a bit of English, I can make friends but for the rest of my family it is difficult. My wife can’t speak English. It is difficult but we try to help each other. I try to help my family be happy. It is like a bad dream that we passed now I am trying to give ideas and I try much.

The hotel was good for a few weeks but if it is longer you get tired. We moved from there on the 7th December. We don’t celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Eid the same.

Refugee Council found us help with English. My wife has zoom English class twice a week and also there is a British woman who helped her with the English. The place that we came, it is very nice and the people are very kind. The children learn at school and a volunteer woman comes to our house twice a week to help with words, reading, writing and their homework.

When we came here to Skipton, Refugee Council help us, a volunteer was there and they welcome us into a community where people sit together and talk.

Me and my wife went with our family there and they were very kind and helpful. Once a week we go there. They help us with any problems. Also they help us with English, my children and my wife. It is very helpful because if you go somewhere and don’t know the people you will be stuck. You feel better surrounded by people that you have people to help you.

I miss my job. I worked for 18 years as a firefighter from when I left school (2004) and I worked until I came to the UK. For now for the starting of a new life I am trying to find any kind of job to start.

My brothers, sisters live in Kabul. My parents have passed away. My wife’s mother is still in Kabul. I speak to them on what’s app. They have a lot of problems now. My brothers worked with the Government in intelligence and the Taliban is looking for them. They are changing houses, they are not in a good situation with no job and moving around with their family. When the Government collapsed the people who were responsible to help are no longer responding. So they are stuck there and don’t know what to do. The chain is broken, everyone has gone everywhere.

Now it is very painful to think of my home. The people are very sad, they don’t have money and don’t have food. When I see pictures and when I call to my family back home they are not happy and that makes me sad. Before it was very good and people were very happy. Now it is sad.


Photo: 2021.11 Times Christmas Appeal, Sunday Times Photographer James Glossop

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