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4th Jul, 2022

Daughter fears for her mum's life in Afghanistan

AN AFGHAN-BORN Whitnash resident has revealed her family’s terror after the Taliban threatened to execute her mother in the war-torn country.

Shabnam Nishat lives with her husband, Rostam, and their four young children in the town after moving to the UK in 2007.

They are among 25 desperate families in the area hoping their stranded relatives can still be evacuated as the Taliban strengthen their hold over Afghanistan following the withdraw of the Nato-allied forces after a 20-year military campaign.

Mrs Nishat says she feels sick with worry for her mother, father, sister, and brother who attempted to flee the Taliban but are now in hiding.

The 36-year-old’s mother, who cannot be named in the interests of her safety, worked as a politician, and faces a particularly grave risk of persecution – along with her relatives – because she opposed the Taliban and fought for gender equality while working with the United Nations (UN).

Mrs Nishat said militants had already threatened to kill her during a phone call, leaving the family in constant fear for her safety.

The Taliban has played down concerns it is seeking retribution against opponents – those who had any association with the UK or the US, or women who took on roles inconsistent with its interpretation of Islam.

But reports of violence and executions are already ruminating from many Afghan cities, after militants unexpectedly stormed to power following the US and UK military withdrawal.

Afghan families in the area are being assisted by Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, who has branded the government’s desertion of the families and the Afghan people as ‘unforgivable.’

Mrs Nishat sought Mr Western’s help with ensuring her mother and the rest of her under-threat family got to safety before the August 31 deadline when all western troops finally left Kabul airport and evacuations from Afghanistan were halted.

Mrs Nishat – who is a student at Warwickshire College and until the pandemic worked as a teaching assistant at Briar Hill Infant School – said: “I’m ready to do everything for my family.

“They are at risk. They are in hiding now.

“The Taliban is threatening them. A man called my mother and told her ‘if I find you, I will kill you.’ She is very scared and has switched off her phone.

“I am here, my family is here, we are UK citizens – why can’t the UK government save my family in Afghanistan?

“I’m not very well. I go to sleep and I worry about not seeing my family again. I feel hopeless.”

Reports suggest the UK government has been unable to evacuate nearly 7,000 people who hoped they might be granted safe passage to the UK, including the relatives of the 25 families in the Warwick and Leamington constituency.

Mr Western said: “I have scarcely been so angry in all my years working as an elected representative.

“So many people have been unforgivably deserted by this government – potentially left to suffer violence and death under the Taliban.

“My team worked so hard every day to help desperate constituents who have been ignored by the Foreign Office and must now be fearing they will never see their families again.

“It feels like we have failed them – but it is this government that failed to plan and failed to help so many people. Shame on them.”

 

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