Welcome! Read the latest issue of PROGRESS, featuring inclusive programming in Virginia. Read PROGRESS

Escape From Afghanistan

by Sediqa Mohammadi

August 14, 2021

Everything was normal in Kabul. Like me, everyone woke up at the usual time, took a shower and went to school, college or their jobs. I went to my law classes at Kabul University. Suddenly, the professor came and said, “The Taliban are in Kabul. Everyone go home.” It was so hard for us to believe that the Taliban were in Kabul, but it was true. Everyone was running because no taxi would pick up female students. Everything was scary until I arrived home. My sister worked for the special forces and my mother worked in the Ministry of Defense. If the Taliban found out, my family would be at risk – especially my sister. We didn’t sleep well until my sister got an online visa from the US. She was told to be at the airport at 3:00 am and to take nothing with her – no documents, no smartphone, no suitcases. When my sister arrived at the airport, her colleagues asked her where her passport was. She didn’t have her passport. She called me and asked for her passport. I couldn’t go to the airport without a man. My father was not home and my brother was too young. I said to my mom, “Let’s go.” But my mom said, “You are young. You can escape from the Taliban. I am too old, I can’t.” I decided to go alone. I left home, but no taxi driver wanted to pick me up without a male escort. Finally one driver said, “I can take you, for a price.” It would take all the money I had to go to the airport. I wouldn’t have any money to return home. I didn’t have another choice, so I accepted.

When I arrived at the airport, the Taliban and people who wanted to leave Afghanistan were everywhere and the US Army was firing so much. I found Rebecca, a friend of my sister in the US Army. She said, “I’ll try my best, but I‘m not sure I can help you.” Rebecca was very worried. It was midnight when my sister and her colleagues got a text telling them to go to the next gate where an American soldier would identify the special forces girls and help them enter the airport. We all went to the next gate, but there were a lot of problems. The Army and the Taliban didn’t let us go through. We tried and tried until we found the American soldier who identified us and let us enter the gate, but most of the girls didn’t have passports. The Army kicked us out. My sister was separated from her friends, but she didn’t give up. We tried again to enter the gate. We saw our contact, but he couldn’t see us because there were a lot of people there and they were all shouting. We kept shouting our password until he heard us and, at last, we entered the airport. Ahhhh.