Local Afghan community helplessly watches from afar as tragic events unfold in Kabul

Afghan-Calgarians are terrified for their friends and family back home as the Taliban overtakes the capital.

By Krista Sylvester | August 17, 2021 |7:00 am

Calgary-based Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4W Afghan) urges Calgarians to spread the word about the atrocities happening in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo: Shutterstock

The local Afghan community is watching with deep concern as tragic events unfold at home as the country quickly deteriorates under the rule of the Taliban. 

The Canadian government shut down its embassy in the capital city of Kabul as Taliban fighters captured the capital city Sunday. The scene in Kabul is so bad that thousands of Afghanistan people rushed to the airport in Kabul to flee the country. 

The Islamist organization, which was ousted when the so-called “War on Terror” began after the 9/11 attacks, have now returned to power following a 20-year war led by the United States and its allies. The U.S. is set to withdraw its last remaining troops by the end of the month.

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Speaking to reporters Sunday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the events unfolding in Afghanistan, telling reporters that Canada “condemns the escalating violence”. 

Since April, the Taliban has captured 65% of Afghanistan’s territory. Canada is trying to pull their diplomatic personnel out of the embattled country. 

Local Afghan community watches from afar, concerned for family and friends. 

According to news reports, the Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The country is facing chaos and destruction as the terrorist organization wreaks havoc on the men, women and children of the country, according to Murwarid Ziayee, a member of the Afghan community who now resides in Calgary. 

“It is a tragedy going on in the country at the moment, especially in contact with people on the ground, not only through media and social media, but also through our own connections, including family members and friends,” she tells the Calgary Citizen. 

“It’s a very frightening situation for everyone who lives in the country at the moment. We are worried and deeply concerned about the security of our landscape, there is a fraudulent and very unpredictable situation. We don’t know what will happen even a few hours from now.” 

Ziayee is also part of the CW4WAfghan orgnization, which is a Calgary-based non-profit working with Afghan women across Canada and overseas. She has immediate family in the country who are at risk of death. 

“They (the Taliban) haven’t shown any mercy. We have seen a violation of human rights in those provinces that they capture, including pulling out civilians from their homes and executing them; forcing those 15 and above to marry.”

She says the Taliban is also killing people based on their name or affiliation to government employees or military forces. 

“Obviously, everyone is scared about what’s going on. It’s very difficult, it’s very hard.”  

What Calgarians can do to help. 

Ziayee says it’s been hard to contact those in Afghanistan and it’s been a very emotional time for the local Afghan community. She says Calgarians can help by spreading the word about the atrocities the Taliban are committing in that country. 

“They can educate and inform, make people aware about the current situation in Afghanistan. They might hear it from the media, but it’s not enough,” she says, adding organizations like CW4WAfghan can be a valuable source for sharing stories from the ground of Afghanistan. 

She also urges Canadians to lobby their politicians and put political pressure on the Canadian government and the United Nations to help the Afghanistan people. 

“We have to mobilize globally for their protection, for their safety. This situation was very preventable. There were many junctures … that it was possible to be prevented by international support to our foreign government and military forces,” she says. 

“But it wasn’t. They just pulled out everything immediately, and so unplanned. That put everything in the chaotic situation that we’re seeing now.” 

Join the Afghan youth of Calgary on Thursday, August 19, 2021, at City Hall to stand united with the local Afghan community and raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis happening overseas. 

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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