Derby man tells of Afghan family rescue mission

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A Derby man has spoken of his struggle to get to Afghanistan in a desperate attempt to rescue relatives after the Taliban took control.

Fawod, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, went overland via Uzbekistan to get his mother and sister. He failed to get them out on evacuation flights from Kabul airport and said the area was like “the end of the world”.

Eventually he paid people smugglers to get them out but was stuck himself for another six weeks.

Fawod’s mercy mission began when his mother contacted him to say they were scared and wanted to leave.

With flights suspended he used the northern border to get in, a week after Kabul had fallen on 15 August. He said: “It was scary. I was thinking ‘What is going to happen over there to me?’.

“All these years [the Taliban] were fighting against the United States, the British, anyone foreign and here I am with my British passport.

” But he was allowed through and travelled to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif where his mother and sister were living on their own.

“They were worried about what was going to happen to them,” he said. “It was like they were locked in the house, they did not dare go out.

“A little boy, a neighbour, was helping with the shopping a little bit, so they never came out.”

Fawod took them to Kabul airport but crowds were blocking the roads and he even had to rescue a baby whose mother was trying to throw her baby over the perimeter fence.

“She was screaming because people were jumping all over the place,” he said. “It was like the end of the world.” Instead Fawod paid a smuggler to take his mother and sister to Pakistan.

But he became stranded when Uzbekistan closed the border. He waited for weeks, describing Mazar as “chaos” with money running out and the Taliban hanging alleged criminals in public.

But Fawod eventually made it back and said: “If life is anything, it is keeping your family safe.” His mother and sister are still in Pakistan.

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