TORONTO/DOHA – An Afghan journalist, now in Qatar, tells the story of his escape from Afghanistan and his hopes for his life when he is reunited with his family in Canada.
Akbar Shinwari told Granthshala National News that he has been at an evacuation center in Qatar’s capital Doha for the past month, having been rescued on the ground by Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
“He was the one helping everyone else, including me,” explained Shinwari.
He said the Qatari ambassador helped rescue some 150 members of the journalist community in Kabul and their families by taking them to the airport in a convoy of buses.
“He was wearing local clothes with a local cap and he was talking to the Taliban at several checkpoints,” Shinwari said.
He said the journey took about 45 minutes, but when he reached the green zone east of Kabul, he began to rest.
Shinwari said he called the ambassador an “angel of life” to help him escape.
“He was the one who was not only saving my life, our families and everyone’s lives because there was no security. If he wasn’t leading the convoy… forget landing at the airport,” Shinwari said. Shinwari said.
Shinwari, who previously did some work for the Canadian government and The Canadian Press, is looking forward to visiting Canada with her family in Qatar so that she can be with her relatives.
“My aunt is there and I have some media friends too, and they are very happy. They are treated very well. I look forward to a visit there,” he said.
Shinwari, however, said that if it was difficult to give up his life in Afghanistan and see the country deteriorate under Taliban rule.
“It was really painful because the achievements we had in the last 20 years are gone,” he said. “Education system, banking, progress, women’s rights, all the rights that we had.”
Shinwari said he understands that the transition to a new life in Canada will have its challenges, but expects opportunities for all Afghans visiting the country.
She said she was looking forward to sending her daughters back to school, who were earlier studying at Kabul University.
“He will have a bright future and perhaps in the future he will be very useful to Canada and Afghanistan as well,” Shinwari said.
With files from Granthshala.ca’s Brooklyn Newsstatter