Ahmad – not his real name – left Afghanistan after the US invasion began in 2001. He sought asylum in the UK, and eventually settled in Glasgow, finally becoming a citizen last year.
But his wife and children live in Kabul. In August, with his wife heavily pregnant, he flew back to be with them, believing there would be time to bring them back to the UK if anything went wrong. But the baby was born even as the Taliban began to seize control of Afghanistan’s cities. When the capital fell, Ahmad, armed with an email from the British government calling him forward, came with his family to the airport, in hope of a flight out.
They came back day after day, but never made it to a British checkpoint. The last UK evacuation flight left Afghanistan on Saturday, and the last western troops left the country on Monday. Like thousands of UK citizens and others who hoped that their work for the British forces in the country would mean they had a way out, Ahmad and his family are still there.
Ahmad tells Michael Safi the story of his desperate attempts to make it on to a British flight, and how he and his family barely avoided a terrorist attack on the airport last week. We also hear from Amelia Gentleman, who has been speaking to others in the same situation about their dismay as emails and calls from the British authorities about evacuation flights ceased, and their fears that they will now be abandoned to their fate.
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