Zakia Zarifi has been feeling heartbroken and guilty ever since she returned to her home in Ontario from Afghanistan.
“I’m happy to see my family here, but it’s torture for me because I couldn’t bring my parents with me,” a Brampton real estate agent said over the phone.
“It was the hardest goodbye ever, but deep down I hope I can get them here.”
The single mother says she was beaten, shot, and barely dodged a bomb outside Kabul airport during the chaotic journey. She now only thinks of helping those left behind.
“(A) genocide … is happening in Afghanistan right now and no one is talking about it. That’s why I am here but my mind is always there.
Afghanistan is under Taliban control. How do we get here?
Zarifi, 50, this week arrived in tears and warm embraces of her three grown-up children. He worked hard to bring his mother home after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August. She had gone there trying to get her old parents out of danger.
Before she left herself, Zarifi was critical of Canada’s evacuation of its citizens from the region.
She told the Canadian press that while she was stranded in Afghanistan, she tried to escape twice before the August 31 deadline of a US-led military mission, but was beaten up by Taliban members and away from the airport gate. pushed.
She was furious Canadian officials told her and others to meet in dangerous places, while other countries helped their citizens reach military planes using safer routes. Ten days after Canadian forces left the area, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced criticism for mishandling the evacuation, Zarifi received another call from Global Affairs Canada, she said. This time the plan was better. “They asked me to stay at the (Kabul) Serena Hotel and then, from there, the Qatari government was in charge of taking us to the airport. We had a flight with Qatar Airline (to Qatar). Till Tuesday, she was on a flight from Doha to Canada.
“The first flight that left Afghanistan (were all different citizens from around the world). On the second flight … I believe there were 10 Canadians.”
She said others in the flight home told horrific stories about the Taliban knocking on their families’ doors and taking away their men.
“They took their birth certificates, and took them to this place. They have all disappeared,” she said.
“Someone even came knocking on my parents’ door. The man who looked after them (said), ‘No one lives here,’ and they left.
Zarifi said his parents are a target because they are from the northeastern province of Panjshir, the center of military resistance in Afghanistan and where his father fought against the Taliban regime.
While she waited for a flight, she and her family helped other Afghans, she said.
He distributed goods in his house, distributed 120 blankets and supplied food to 500 families. Thousands of Afghans he helped are religious and ethnic minorities who worry that the Taliban’s return to power will result in persecution or death.
Zarifi recalled a similar visit he made during the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1987. She had fled from Kabul to Pakistan. Two years later, she moved to Canada.
Zarif’s daughter Marjan said, “Afghan… most of them are refugees and all of them have found a way out of earlier and worse times.”
“When my mother first came to Canada, she had to walk for two days, two nights to get to where she had to go. He was being shot directly. So he’s done this twice.
“She holds a lot of power and says, ‘It’ll be okay,’ but every day we can’t think straight… Everyone just goes on with life, but my mind is constantly with my family and what’s going on.” Is.”
Despite his frustration with the Canadian government, Zarifi said he was grateful that Trudeau had not forgotten him and the other citizens.
“I hope the liberals (government) will do their best to bring people in because their lives are in danger,” Zarif said.
“When I came here, I worked 20 hours. I worked as a bookkeeper, accounting at Walmart, worked the night shift. I would work very hard. I made a living for myself.”
She said that she prays that other Afghans also get the same opportunity for a new life. For her part, she plans to continue helping people in Afghanistan in whatever way she can.
This story was produced with financial support from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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