Afghanistan dispatches: ‘Even people with valid visas cannot get out of this black hole.”
ErikaWittlieb / Pixabay
Afghanistan dispatches: ‘Even people with valid visas cannot get out of this black hole.”

JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a female law graduate in Kabul offers her observations and perspective. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding her name and institutional affiliation. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Since the Taliban came, I feel suffocated. Kabul has become like a big prison. A few of the Taliban leaders dress neatly and deliver polished and calculated speeches in front of the camera, but the rest of them belong to stone-age. I believe they are behaving nicely just to receive the approval of international community, but deep inside they are still barbarians who believe women belong to housework and for reproduction purpose.

I was 100% sure that we would be evacuated, because my husband has worked for [various US and international projects in Afghanistan], but in practice the whole case was different. I know and saw thousands of people who never worked for any international agency, and had no valid documents in hand but managed to get inside the airport and be evacuated. The whole evacuation process was managed very poorly and in a very unprofessional manner. At one point I was crossing by the Kabul airport road and I saw Afghan and international forces who had the responsibility of guarding the airport gates firing, launching tear gas and hitting people outside the airport. A lot of people died from gunshots and a lot of weak people fell and were run over by others and had serious injuries. Kids died because of tear gas. It was a mess…

Our problem was that we thought [a US government agency] would contact us and evacuate us sooner or later so we wouldn’t have to risk our kids’ lives, because we have been working with that agency for years. But this was not the case. Whoever had the muscle power to get over the walls of the airport got evacuated very easily.

Now the borders are closed and there are no flights coming in or going out from Kabul. No embassy is open. Even people with valid visas cannot get out of this black hole. The SIV process is still very slow. My husband applied in 2019 and still he is at the first stage. In almost 2.5 years they have not passed our documents from Stage One to Stage Two. We are badly trapped. The government has fallen into hands of people that we hate with every molecule of our body, but we can’t do anything.