Just a year ago, Farhad Wajdi, along with his parents and siblings, ran a non-profit organization in Kabul that provided street food carts to local women.
They attracted headlines from the international media and won the support of American NGOs and the Afghan government.But now, the Taliban Regain power What happened in this country was much faster than what the US or Afghan officials said. It has overturned the fate of the family and tore them apart between the two countries.
America The last troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan on Monday, Marking the end of its 20-year war in the country. But the legacy of American operations in the country will continue through families like Wajidi and the terrible and often perverse consequences they face. Wajdi’s organization has attracted reports from the Guardian, BBC News, Al Jazeera and other media, and has received recognition and financial support from international organizations such as the Asia Foundation of the United States and Global Citizen. The Afghan government even donated the recovered motorcycles to non-profit organizations. But it was this attention that finally forced him to leave his country last year-now putting his family in danger.
He said Wajdi lives in Virginia, where he moved to seek asylum last year after ISIS militants threatened his life. He came to the United States before his parents and siblings, and he planned to eventually let them join him-but none of them realized how little time they had left before the government fell.Since the Taliban Sweeping power, Wajdi’s family has been hiding, and he has contacted everyone he knows to try to get them to evacuate. Many people and organizations have tried it, but to no avail.
Their food truck non-profit organization enables women to sell quick lunches such as pasta and rice to pedestrians in Kabul. Street food is very popular in Kabul, but it is usually sold by men. Wajdi said that when Wajdi founded the organization with the help of his family in 2010, one problem was that women had to push their own carts, which was a taboo. “Culturally speaking, female strollers are considered very bad,” he said.
Therefore, Wajdi and his father who is proficient in electronics jointly designed a trolley powered by solar panels. He said that his mother provided advice and assistance to the trolley supplier. Vajdi said they face abuse and threats, but the trolley helps them make money for their families, which is especially important for widows.
Last year, after Afghanistan entered a lockdown due to COVID-19 and street food vendors were no longer open for business, the trolley was Become a mobile disinfection device.
“Seeing my mother empowered myself has made my vision clearer. I must help more women become like my mother,” Wajdi said.
But not everyone supports the project. Last summer, Wajdi started receiving threatening calls.
“With fame, we are in danger,” he said. “A person called me with a private number and said that you are promoting Western ideology in Afghanistan.”
More calls are coming. At first, he didn’t take them seriously.But then he received a Facebook message and shared it with BuzzFeed News, threatening to “target [his] Workplace and home”, and his “ultimate destination will be hell.” The account that sent it seems to be still on Facebook, identifying himself as part of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, which is a regional branch of the Islamic State Agency, using the historical name of a region that covers parts of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to the news, Wajdi’s goal is to hire Hazara minority women as trolley suppliers. “If you surrender to us, we can Reduce your punishment,” it said.
“I’m scared,” Vajdi said. He closed the office and took about 40 trolleys to an area near his home. His parents took these threats seriously. Years of war experience tells them that they must do this.
The family decided that Wajdi went to Virginia to seek asylum because he already holds a US tourist visa and has an uncle who lives there. His parents do not have a U.S. visa and cannot go with him.
It was a painful decision, but at the time, Vajdi thought he could finally help his parents join him. But then everything changed.
“As soon as the Taliban took over, we quickly abandoned our house,” his parents told BuzzFeed News in an email. Their neighbors told them that when they were out, the militants broke into their house and searched the place, asking them about their situation. On the day the Taliban swept Kabul, Vajdi saw TV news reports of people flocking to the airport, and rumors that Afghans could board the plane as long as they arrived at the right place at the right time. This is dangerous, but considering the threat, it might be worse to stay behind.
Wajdi’s parents decided to take this risk. With the young children, they left everything except a few bags of food and drinks and asked their neighbors to look after the house. For several days, they lived in the area near the airport, slept on the street to avoid missing any opportunities, and moved from door to door based on the rumors they heard that people were allowed to enter. They brandished paperwork and called for help to foreign military officials and translators. No one will interfere.
Vajdi said they had been short of water when they were at the airport. “Only people can pass-only you bring your papers and your children. No bags, no luggage.”
The family spent a few days camping near the airport, praying that they could be evacuated. (BuzzFeed News concealed their names to protect their safety.) Wajdi was talking on the phone with his mother at night, and his mother was using a power bank to charge her phone. His parents kept saying the same thing: “Son, no progress.” He spent a few days calling anyone who might be able to help—supporting his foundation, journalists and friends in the U.S. and Europe.
Be a terrorist bombing Hamid Karzai International Airport was killed on Thursday At least 170 Afghans Like the 13 American soldiers, Wajdi’s family members were outside the airport-but at different gates, they could hear the explosion but did not feel the impact. They are now hiding again. Vajdi heard about the explosion in the news-he immediately tried to make a call, but was unable to reach his parents. “I’m worried,” he said. Eventually, when the cell phone signal was restored, he was able to get in touch.
Now that the United States has withdrawn from Afghanistan, Wajdi is trying to maintain hope.Taliban Has promised Afghans holding visas or foreign passports from other countries are allowed to leave, but Wajidi does not believe them.
“It’s very difficult,” he said. “When you see this on TV, when you see the future of your country, it looks really pessimistic. You think, what if one day your parents are executed in front of your eyes?”
These days, his mind is full of assumptions. Vaidi expressed regret for the overly optimistic predictions made by the Afghan and US governments regarding the stability of Kabul. “That’s why my parents don’t have passports yet,” he said. “We are not mentally prepared to go abroad.” If Vajdi did not trust a friend of the Afghan government, he had tried to alleviate his fear that the Taliban would quickly defeat the army, which he might have foreseen.
“It feels like we are still dreaming,” he said. “How can things change so quickly? I never thought everything would fall apart so easily.”