Hyderabad: "I want to meet my grandmother. You keep saying next week but the week never comes and you never take me there. Please take me to grandmother," six-year-old Samina pleads with her father Abdul Samad Rahimi, an Afghan national in Hyderabad.

Samina wants to meet her grandparents but she doesn't know the situation there. She is complaining and I cannot fulfil her wish, says Abdul Samad Rahimi.

Samad, 34, who belongs to a Baloch minority group from Nimroz province in the southern part of Afghanistan, came to Hyderabad to do his Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at the English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) in 2019 on the ICCR scholarship.

With the news of the Taliban substantially gaining power being regularly reported for last two years, seven months ago he brought his wife and daughter to Hyderabad to stay with him till his course gets over. What he didn't know was that he had to stay back without his fellowship and his country would fall into the Taliban's hands.

"After my course gets over, I planned to go back home but it has been more than 20 days and there are no direct flights travelling to Kabul and back. Today, the Kabul airport itself has been shut," said Samad whose visa expires next month.

He adds that he is looking to get his visa renewed and stay till the situation gets normal in Afghanistan. "I was getting a scholarship from ICCR but since last month it stopped and we are living on my savings. I also have to book a flight ticket for which I have to arrange money," said Samad.

Back Home

Nimroz province, from where Samad comes from, fell to the Taliban on 6 August, making it the first provincial capital the insurgents have captured as they step up offensives. "My family has sold their property and has been fleeing from one village to the other while hiding their identity as a minority," said Samad. "My father is an elderly citizen and they are torturing my people."

Samad adds that he spoke to his family only twice in the last two weeks. "Due to lack of access to internet and phone, I only spoke with my brother and father. I am concerned about their whereabouts and safety," said Samad.

Samad used to work in a US construction company before coming to Hyderabad. He said he has come to know that some people back home have been asking for him. "They (Taliban) came to know about my work and are asking my neighbours about where I am and if I escaped the country. They are looking for me. I don't know what will happen if I return home because they might come for me," said Samad.

Future of my daughter

"I have grown up in a democratic country. Since the last 20 years I have seen democracy, elections, peace, modern education, freedom of speech, freedom of media, equality and so on. Accordingly, I have thought about the future of my daughter. I want her to get an education and become her own person. But it seems difficult in the current situation. I don't see hope for my daughter in my country after the Taliban have seized power," said Samad. He adds that the only solution for him is to get a visa, get a job and make sure his daughter's future remains afloat despite the uncertainty.

He believes that democratization has lifted many people's lives in Afghanistan. "Yesterday, president Asghar Ghani left the country. Though it was his own decision to do so, in the time he was the president the country has changed and people had hope that life will change. With the support of the US and India, the system changed. We cannot deny that there was no corruption, but it was not about the worry of life since there was law and order. With our passport we had an identity. Right now, the ordinary people need safety and security," said Samad.

He adds that he is more concerned about educated people. "A section of people thought of changing society through education. People like me travelled to different countries to get educated and do something for society but the Taliban regime doesn't like people like me. It's not only me, but thousands of people like me who are all uncertain about their future," said Samad.

Sumit Jha

Sumit Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with NewsMeter. An alumnus of the University of Hyderabad and Amity University. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also a contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, consumer, health, human interest and data stories. You can follow Sumit on Twitter @sumitjha__

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