Local Afghan families worry about loved ones overseas as Taliban grips power
Hakim Nazem witnessed what life was like when the Taliban was in power in the 1990s and now he’s worried for Afghanistan’s future as the group overtook the presidential palace.
“I was shocked. Unbelievable. I was disappointed. I was mad. It was totally unexpected that Kabul has fallen to the Taliban,” Nazem said. “This was not what I was hearing from the world leaders; this was not what I was hearing from Joe Biden. And unfortunately, everything went the other way around.”
Nazem watched the news from his New Westminster home anxiously, as he fears for the safety of his sisters, brothers and many nieces and nephews who are still in his home country.
“They are just calling for help,” he said. “I lost my nephew about three months ago to the war. He was an officer working with the army; they killed him in Logar, the Taliban killed him.”
Afghans living in the Lower Mainland are raising their voices to spread awareness on the issues facing people in Afghanistan.
Over the weekend, a rally took place in the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery and another one is planned for the end of the month.
“We need everyone -- Afghans, non-Afghans -- anyone who supports human rights, to come out and support us, to show that we are standing with you and we are against this, and we are against the killings of Afghans,” said Ahmadwaly Yasin, a rally organizer.
Yasin also has family there and he is worried that the Taliban will cut off internet access and essentially, cut people in Afghanistan’s communication with the rest of the world.
“Over many, many years, a lot of innocent Afghan lives have been taken away and that is not fair to them. For me, I pray, night and day,” he said.
The protest, Stop Killing Afghans, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is one of many demonstrations happening across the world that day to show support for Afghanistan.