As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled and the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, the world has been watching on in horror.
Thousands of people flooded the international airport in Kabul, with seven people dying in desperate attempts to leave the country on Monday, after the Taliban swept across and seized power in a matter of days.
On Monday evening, President Joe Biden doubled down on his decision to leave the country – but the West’s exit and militants’ swift takeover have left many worried the country will once again become a ‘breeding ground’ for terrorism.
As with billions of others around the globe, Manchester’s Afghan community have been left with no option but to view the events from afar, left in fear for their family members still living in the country.
READ MORE: Oldham refugee who fled Afghanistan after Taliban twice tried to kill her says the ‘country is burning’
They have now urged the people of Manchester – and the international community – to stand up against the militant regime.
Mursal Zia*, 24, is the president of Manchester University Afganistan Society.
She has family in Afghanistan and describes dealing with what is happening as “very hard.”
Through her tears, she describes how some of the universities have closed classes and sent students home as they were afraid the female students may be kidnapped.
She says: “Calling on the international community to help is something we can do, and not giving legitimacy to the [Taliban] regime.
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“They have taken Afghanistan by force and violence, from province to province, city to city. This is not a democracy. This is not just.
“In 2021 they should not be able to take a country by force.”
Narwan Ghani, 25, works for Oldham Hospital and has family in Afghanistan.
She say she is feeling ‘mixed emotions’ of anger, devastation and exhaustion.
She says: “I did see it coming but I did not know it would be this quick.”
Narwan, who lives in Newton Heath, says she cannot keep in touch with all of her family in Afghanistan as some do not have electricity and can’t charge their phones.
She said: “We are worried about what is going to happen and what is happening.”
She says they will be protesting on Saturday, August 28, and urged: “I want people to use social media platforms to stand up and help do something about it.”
Yasamin Saidi, 23, a student at Manchester University, was born in Afghanistan and lived there until she was five-years-old.
She says her immediate family are in the UK but her aunts and uncles and other family members are over there.
She describes what she is feeling as “a lot of despair.”
She says: “Most of my family are in Afghanistan.
“I feel a lot of despair and I am disappointed at the media’s lack of coverage when the Taliban advancement began.
“We felt there was little coverage until it was too late.
“For the past two months they have been advancing, ethnic cleansing and bombing schools and universities.”
She says not knowing what is likely to happen is one of the worst things.
Yasamin Saidi in traditional clothing
She says: “My dad is very well educated in the political system, so hearing him being so uncertain is worrying.
“We are all worried about the safety of our families and especially the women and children.”
And Miranda, who has a masters in Chemical Engineering, said among the members of her university society, there is a feeling of helplessness.
She said: “It is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.
“There is nothing we can do but raise awareness, we are completely isolated here. Afghanistan is always associated with war.
“We wanted to create a society to show that is about so much more.
“It has a rich culture, is home to so many different dynasties and religious hubs.
“All the work over the last 20 years, to help rebuild it and make it a safe place for women and minorities is being undone.”
*name changed to prevent repercussions
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