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The Story of an Afghan Immigrant Girl

by Maryam Muradi

I am a girl from Afghanistan, from a land where I witnessed war and insecurity from childhood to adulthood, the country where most women did not have the right to education and work and could not even decide to get married to the person that they loved.

But I was a lucky girl who was born into a family that respected women. Although my parents were unlettered and not rich, they were kind and understanding; they wholeheartedly supported me and my siblings in our studies and work for a better future and a better world.

Life went on as usual, and I started working in an organization for building peace, women’s rights, and gender equality. In the middle of August, 2021, as usual, I went to Kabul, (capital of Afghanistan) for a new project and training for four days. When I left Mazar, I just said to my family, “I will see you all again in four days.” But I did not understand what would happen.

We had only spent two days of training when I suddenly heard that fighting with the Taliban in Mazar had intensified and the Taliban had taken Mazar. Then, we tried to save our lives and tried several times to enter the airport, but it was very difficult because the Taliban were shooting at the people. Also, thousands of people were still rushing to enter the airport, and the soldiers were pouring tear gas on the people.

After several days of insomnia and stress, we were able to enter the airport. Anyway, I left Afghanistan and my family without saying goodbye and with only the dress I was wearing. I left my homeland on a plane with a thousand people. We went to Qatar and spent two weeks in a very bad place that looked like a big garage. There were no bathing facilities and the temperature was about 50-55 C.

After that, I found a chance to go to the United States, and I spent 45 days in a military camp. Now I am here in Virginia to start a new life, a new dream with new challenges and a new culture. I know it’s very hard to start a new life from zero without family, but I will never, never give up. I believe I can do it and everything will be good. One day I will see my family again, and I will hold my parents tightly in my arms forever.