KABUL, Afghanistan — Haji Sakhi decided to flee Afghanistan the night he saw two Taliban members drag a young woman from her home and lash her on the sidewalk. Terrified for his three daughters, he crammed his family into a car the next morning and barreled down winding dirt roads into Pakistan.
That was more than 20 years ago. They returned to Kabul, the capital, nearly a decade later after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime. But now, with the Taliban sweeping across parts of the country as American forces withdraw, Mr. Sakhi, 68, fears a return of the violence he witnessed that night. This time, he says, his family is not waiting so long to leave.
“I’m not scared of leaving belongings behind, I’m not scared of starting everything from scratch,” said Mr. Sakhi, who recently applied for Turkish visas for himself, his wife, their three daughters and one son. “What I’m scared of is the Taliban.”
Across Afghanistan, a mass exodus is unfolding as the Taliban press on in their brutal military campaign, which has captured more than half the country’s 400-odd districts, according to some assessments. And with that, fears of a harsh return to extremist rule or a bloody civil war between ethnically aligned militias have taken hold.
So far this year around 330,000 Afghans have been displaced, more than half of them fleeing their homes since the United States began its withdrawal in May, according to the United Nations.
Many have flooded into makeshift tent camps or crowded into relatives’ homes in cities, the last islands of government control in many provinces. Thousands more are trying to secure
Posts from the same category:
- None Found