I used to be an interpreter for the British forces in Afghanistan. I have two sisters and one brother alongside my parents – they are still in Afghanistan.
In 2021 I really wanted to evacuate because of my family’s safety. I worked in my hometown and if I stayed I knew I would be pursued because people knew me. In that first few months of the Taliban taking over I left my home place and went to Kabul. I was constantly changing my location from one place to another place from one relative to another or from one friend to another friend’s house. Then I struggled and tried to get out through the airport but I couldn’t.
After the evacuation ended I went back to my hometown. I was hidden, I was going to my sisters, brother-in-law’s and other places. I was disguised in different clothes, I didn’t take my wife at that time, I was the one that could be recognised so I would leave her at my sister’s house and then my baby when she was born. I would see them maybe once a week, I wouldn’t see them very often.
We went to the airport after August but we couldn’t make it through. My daughter was just two months old. She was a bit sick and that airport, if you have seen the scenes, it was very crowded and my family were in danger.
I couldn’t take the risk in the airport. I was sent an email saying come to the airport urgently, I couldn’t take the risk, I would say if I don’t die by the Taliban we will die in this airport, we can’t risk it.
In the first few days when I was left behind in the crowd at the airport I was feeling sad, disappointed and betrayed. I had a family and a young kid, I was so disappointed. My mental situation at that time, you can’t imagine how hard it was.
Finally, I got a call from the MOD (Ministry of Defence) calling me to the border crossing. They had helpers so we entered Pakistan. I had another colleague with me that is also in this hotel with me. That is how I managed to get across and we got a visa from the British High Commission in Pakistan. Together with three other families we managed to enter the UK.
The moment I entered Pakistan, everything is gone, those betrayed feelings are gone. I felt like they didn’t just leave me behind, it was a bit late but I was very very happy. The first night I entered Pakistan I was mentally and emotionally relaxed and happy.
[From Pakistan], we took a Royal Airforce flight and landed in Oxford. From there we went to Coventry and put us in a hotel which was for the isolation term. Then we went to a temporary hotel and then from there we were told we would be put into permanent accommodation.
There are other people here in the hotel who came with me in November and others that couldn’t get out in August either.
There is a room here where we held a party. We had music, and the manager prepared a cake as well. All the women and the kids had fun. It was good, it was nice to celebrate.
My wife was very sick with tuberculosis. I knew it was tuberculosis but everyone ignored me until my wife’s situation got tense, she fell on the bed and couldn’t move. They sent an ambulance and did tests and finally confirmed she had tuberculosis. I had to look after my kid in the room in the hotel for a week. I got a call from the doctor telling me all this time you were right. I was hopeless that my wife was not being looked after properly during the first few days in this hotel.
Thank god my situation has now got much better, we are safe, we are not in fear for our lives. There are good things here. Financially, mentally and emotionally things here are better. I got a job easily, the job environment is a great environment and the people there are friendly and supportive.
I know some people who are here with people who here without even their immediate family, it doesn’t seem fair. One man who is here with only his son while his wife and kids are back in Afghanistan. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I would just ask that please everyone is treated the same way. He should have his family here safely with him.
There are lots of bad things that happen, when we are left for a very long time. I myself have been here for 6 months. I have controlled myself but I really don’t want another birthday party in this hotel. I don’t want to expand my family in this hotel, I want to be in a home. I need somewhere I can work and where my wife will not feel isolated. We also need to be near a hospital as we keep being sick.