- Title: Afghan journalist Sarwary: Leaving was most painful journey of my life
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: DOHA, QATAR (AUGUST 27, 2021)(REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE DISTRIBUTING AID BOXES TO AFGHAN EVACUEES AFGHAN GIRLS SITTING WITH THEIR MOTHER AFGHAN JOURNALIST BILAL SARWAR WORKING ON HIS LAPTOP (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN JOURNALIST, BILAL SARWARY, SAYING: â€œEven in my wildest dreams, I did not believe this would happen, that we would suddenly be forced to leave the country so suddenly.â€ SARWARY TALKING WITH REUTERS JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE)(English) BILAL SARWARY AN AFGHAN JOURNALIST SAYING: â€œFor me personally it was 20 years of burying my life, my dreams, my network of friends, my home, so it was perhaps the most painful journey in my life that I have had to basically take.â€ SARWARY TYPING ON HIS LAPTOP (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN JOURNALIST, BILAL SARWARY, SAYING: â€œI would like to think that we would go back because our love affair with Afghanistan is a very fertile one. So someday we would like to go back but that is a hope that I think I will continue to cling on to.â€ VARIOUS OF AFGHAN EVACUEES SITTING (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN JOURNALIST, BILAL SARWARY, SAYING: â€œSo every morning when we wake up we are in touch directly with friends and family and they were talking about the high threat to the airport so they were telling me that they were all waiting inside the sewage canal and it shows you how desperate the conditions are to leave. As I was talking to them suddenly the explosion took place.'' MAN AND WOMAN WALKING WOMAN KISSING AFGHANISTAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN EVACUEE, MARYAM SAYAR, SAYING: â€œWe have no hope the Taliban will ever be able to govern Afghanistan because there are thousands and millions of people who are highly educated then anybody in the group of Taliban.â€ SAYAR KISSING AFGHANISTAN FLAG VARIOUS OF SAYAR FOLDING THE FLAG (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN EVACUEE, MARYAM SAYAR, SAYING: â€œExactly itâ€™s like you now maybe a leaf you know that is floating over the water because we don't know where we will be taken, we don't know anything, at the same time you know we are very much thankful to the countries who are involved in helping Afghan people coming out of Afghanistan but still itâ€™s unknown for us we donâ€™t know where we will go itâ€™s very unclear for us.â€ WOMAN AND HER MOTHER CROSSING THE STREET (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN EVACUEE, AHMAD KHALED, SAYING: â€œAt the meantime, we are happy that at least we made it out of Kabul but at the same time we feel really worried and really bad for those people that are stuck in Kabul, the people who are educated and experienced but unfortunately they have worked for the government and there is a serious threat to their life.â€ VARIOUS OF SAYAR OPENING HIS WINDOW (SOUNDBITE)(English) AFGHAN EVACUEE, AHMAD KHALED, SAYING: â€œMy request from the international community is to put pressure on these Taliban authorities so they at least stop these killings and media censorship and allow women to do their jobs." VARIOUS OF REFUGEES SITTING
- Embargoed: 10th September 2021 22:00
- Keywords: Afghanistan Qatar Taliban evacuees
- Location: DOHA, QATAR
- City: DOHA, QATAR
- Country: Qatar
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001ES20H1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary began his career in 2001 helping cover the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and subsequent fall of the Taliban, in the 20 years since never did he imagine that Kabul would once again fall to the Islamist militant group.
"Even in my wildest dreams I did not believe this would happen, that we would suddenly be forced to leave the country so suddenly,â€ he said in Doha on Friday (August 27).
Sarwary, who arrived in Qatar with his family a few days before Thursday's (August 26) deadly Islamic State suicide bombing outside Kabul airport, says the trip to Qatar has been the most painful journey he had to take in his life.
"For me personally it was 20 years of burying my life, my dreams, my network of friends, my home, so it was perhaps the most painful journey in my life.''
On the day of the bombing outside Kabul airport, Sarwary said he had lost contact with three friends who had been at the airport with their families.
"They were telling me that they were all waiting inside the sewage canal and it shows you how desperate the conditions are to leave. As I was talking to them suddenly the explosion took place," he said, adding that another friend had survived.
Translator and Social worker, Maryam Sayar, who was also flown to Doha with her mother, sisters and her brother and his family around four days ago, said she felt lucky but sad for those unable to leave.
Her brother Ahmed Sayar, 32, said when the Taliban entered the capital, Kabul felt like a "ghost city" with people afraid to venture out. His family waited for 12 hours at the airport to catch a flight out.
He said his colleagues in Afghanistan told him the Taliban had raided their offices and had killed two co-workers.
"We really feel sad for the losses," Ahmed Sayar said.
The Qatar government is hosting thousands of evacuees in residential compounds in Doha until they can enter a third country.
(Production: Hamad Mohammed, Eman Kamel, Moahmmed Benmansour)
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