Family forced to flee – just months after escaping violence in Afghanistan

KABUL (Agencies): A family has escaped the war in Ukraine – just eight months after fleeing violence in Afghanistan. Mohammad, who is using a pseudonym, was living in eastern Afghanistan with his wife and three children when the Taliban took control of the country last summer.
The family managed to reach Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and spent three days outside the airport before being allowed to board an evacuation flight. The flight took them to Ukraine, where Mohammad had previously lived and worked for 30 years. But their safety there was brief, with the Russian invasion beginning on 24 February, sending the family on yet another quest for safety. They drove more than 30 hours on crowded roads, waiting three days at the border, and sleeping in their car in below-freezing temperatures.
They are now in the Romanian city of Suceava. Speaking to Save The Children, Mohammad’s 14-year-old son Samad (a pseudonym), said: “[In Afghanistan] it was war and it was bombing and very bad days. “A lot of people were killed in this war. So we left Afghanistan. “It was a very big thing for me to come from a war and live in a peaceful place. “This was very good for me and my family.
“I made friends, I came to school, and the people were very kind. “It was just like this in Kabul – a lot of people wanted to leave Kabul and go to a peaceful place. “And [in Ukraine], a lot of people wanted to leave and go to a peaceful place for their children, for themselves. “In the future I will miss a lot of things that I had there.
“But for us, it’s a very big thing for us to be safe – it’s enough for us to be safe here.” Mohammad, 54, said his family had gone to Ukraine “for peace”, adding: “But when they heard fighting would start here… nobody could believe that there would be bombing, there would be fighting. “But it was real, it was not a dream.” Samad said: “We’re just in a camp, and I’m worried for my future. “I want to study, I want to be a good man – for my family, for my future, for myself.”
Mohammad added: “Everything will be right. I think so. I hope so.” The family is being supported by Save The Children, which is giving refugees food, clothing, blankets, hygiene kits, and guidance. The charity is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has raised more than £150m since launching an appeal last week, including £25m matched by the UK government. Gabriela Alexandrescu, chief executive of Save the Children Romania, said: “Children and families across Ukraine are facing impossible decisions every day.
“The choice between retreating below ground to try and survive a terrifying onslaught or abandoning everything and escaping as conflict rages is one no parent should have to make. “To be forced to flee across borders twice in the space of months is almost impossible to conceive. “Many people originally from outside Europe are fleeing Ukraine and they need Europe’s help and protection.”