March 21, 2023

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Afghanistan: ‘The day the Taliban took my father away’ | The world

When Taliban Is preparing to form a new government Afghanistan, A woman tells the BBC the story of her family split when her father disappeared before the war in 1999, under Taliban rule.

Friba, who lives in London, was 10 years old when she last saw her father at her home in Herat, western Afghanistan.

His family believes he was abducted by the Taliban.

That is your story. Names have been removed to protect the identities of the victims.

“Living under the control of the Taliban regime is like being in a bad relationship. In the beginning, it’s okay. They make a lot of promises, are cautious and even keep some of their promises.

But when you feel a false sense of security, they carry out their plans.

Soon, the world is gradually getting tired of Afghanistan and the media is turning to other news, the Taliban is strengthening its power every day and the wild cycle will start again.

My father was born in Herat and graduated from Kabul University.

After college, he got married and at that time started working for a small group in the Afghan government.

When the Russians left and the Mujahideen came to power, my father worked for a voluntary charity.

With the arrival of the Taliban in Herat, my father had a chance to flee, but he stayed. He loved his job and he loved Herath.

I will never forget my mom’s face

But his work pays off, he had ambitions, for him and us, and working with animals made life a little more bearable.

One morning in mid-June 1999, my dad was finishing breakfast and getting ready to go to work.

He looked at me and smiled and he got on the bike and walked away.

A few minutes later, some neighbors arrived at our doorstep with bicycles. They said the Taliban had taken him away.

I will never forget my mom’s face. I froze in shock.

She grabbed my five year old brother’s hand and ran away.

That night my mother returned carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

No news of my father wherever he is or whether he is alive.

The Taliban are back on the streets of Herat – Photo: Getty Images / BBC

My uncles and some friends tried without luck to find out where he was buried.

Every day, my mother went to the Taliban offices, but they refused to listen to her.

My uncle went to Kandahar knowing that the Taliban had taken some prisoners there. But there is no news.

So he went to Kabul and Masar-i-Sharif, but he was not there either.

Our neighbor who saw him arrested saw how the same Taliban kidnapped another neighbor and later released him from prison in Herat.

My mother is strong, a lion, and she is not going to give up.

Against family counseling, she took my brother (because under the Taliban regime, she could only travel with a man, even if he was a boy) and went to the office of Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Kandahar.

The Taliban beat and threatened her. They said that if they saw her again, she would be stoned to death.

My mother returned home disappointed and defeated.

We cannot forgive the Taliban

The life of the Taliban has gone from hell to the black hole of despair.

Our mother, fearing for our lives, decided to leave Afghanistan and take us to Mashad in Iran.

In 2004, when the situation in Afghanistan improved, we returned. We read for ourselves and wanted to do something.

‘Living under the control of the Taliban regime is like having an abusive relationship’ – Photo: Anadolu Agency / BBC

Our father had faith that we would be fulfilled.

I still remember his beautiful smile and I still have the pen he gave me.

We can never regret his life and we must not forget him.

When we see news of the Taliban recapturing Afghanistan, I fear history will repeat itself.

I am now married and living in the UK. But I fear for my mother, my sisters and my brother in Afghanistan, and for the millions of families who experience the same pain and loss as us.

His only crime was being born in Afghanistan.

Produced by Rojina Cine