A Winnipeg family stranded in Afghanistan is looking for help after Canada ended its Kabul evacuation efforts on Thursday.
Speaking to Global News by phone, one of the family members, whom Global News is not identifying for safety reasons, said her family has tried getting to the airport several times over the last two weeks but has been unable to get by Taliban checkpoints.
“Taliban is getting short-tempered, so they kind of just ignore the fact that you need to get through and they back you off by shooting or by asking you to leave the area,” she said.
“We have two younger kids with us; they’re extremely traumatized. I’m extremely traumatized because I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
The woman flew to Afghanistan with her parents and two younger sisters in July for her wedding.
She said the situation is getting more dangerous each day. Her family is staying close to where dozens were killed, including members of the U.S. military, in two explosions outside Kabul’s international airport.
“It’s not a vacation anymore, it’s more of a threat and it’s stressful,” the woman said.
Her brother Hameid is in Winnipeg and worried for their safety.
He said it’s been frustrating having government officials tell his family to go to the Kabul airport to board a flight back to Canada, apparently unaware of the situation on the ground.
“They don’t understand that there is a big barricade that they can’t get through,” Hameid said.
“My dad said it’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t want to keep going back because my sisters cry and they’re scared of the gunshots.”
At one point, he said a member of the Taliban had a gun pointed at his dad while trying to get to the airport.
In another incident, his youngest sister was stepped on while people ran by.
Despite Canada ending its airlift mission from Kabul, Hameid said he is holding onto hope that his parents and three sisters will make it back home.
“I hope so, that’s all I can do,” he said. “It’s emotional.”
Hameid’s cousin, Bashir, is urging the Canadian government to think of a new plan to help those left behind.
“There’s definitely a better system than just, ‘We’ll monitor the situation and let you know,’” he said. “I don’t know how much time is left.”
Bashir escaped the Taliban with his parents more than 20 years ago.
“My parents took the first chance that they could to give me a better life,” Bashir said.
“It’s just scary. The same thing my parents escaped from 20 years ago, the same thing that’s been happening the last 40 years, it’s happening again.”
The Taliban was last in power from 1996 to 2001. Militants cut off the hands of thieves, stoned adulterers and banned women from attending school or working outside the home, among other things.
The Taliban again took control of the capital, and country, on Aug. 15.
The recently married woman stranded with her family is asking the Canadian government to think of a safe way to get them back home.
“They need to work on it a little more,” she said. “We will wait and we’ll go as advised but it needs to happen sooner than later.”
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