“My sister is in Peshawar now but still not safe”; says Tabinda
BLACKBURN: A teenager has told of her ongoing heartache after her older sister was kidnapped by the Taliban from their home in Afghanistan. Now living and studying in Blackburn, 18-year-old Tabinda Khavas has lifted the lid on her life in her home country before she claimed asylum in the UK in 2008.
As well as the traumatic kidnapping, she said life under the Taliban was horrific, especially for a young girl, Asian Image has detailed the narration of her ordeal.
Miss Khavas said: “The Taliban took my sister Geewa and I have not seen her since then. I know she is in Pakistan now, but I don’t know anything else. I really miss her badly, and there have been nights I couldn’t sleep because I’m scared for her. Her life is not safe even in Pakistan, she is alone.”
Geewa Khavas has not been seen by her family for more than 10 years, and after she was taken, Miss Khavas and her family ran away.
She said: “I was at home when they came into our house and put a gun to my sister’s head.
“They committed these random acts to keep people living in fear. I was scared, and my mum had to hide me and my other sister, so they did not take us too. Our lives were in danger, so we decided to migrate and find shelter.”
Life in Afghanistan continues to be troubling for the innocent civilians caught in the middle of a war, and families like Miss Khavas’ have no other option than to find ways to get out of the country.
Miss Khavas recalls girls as young as seven being married off to older men, because families believed this was the only way to protect them from Taliban forces.
She said: “Girls have no safety and no money and are not treated well by the men. “We cannot have an education because of the Taliban there, they would kill anyone who tried.
“My safety is more important because back in my country there were girls getting raped. I would see girls crying after being raped, it happened to so many girls, it made me scared for them and for me. It is worse there now because there are bombs going off and children being murdered, I would never go back.”
Miss Khavas’ mum decided they would run away after Geewa, who is now 24, was kidnapped. She said: “When the Taliban soldiers were busy, we took all of our things, sold some of it to make enough money, then we ran as fast as we could in the evening to the place we had to meet. We were stopped once by the Taliban who asked where we were going, but my mum hid me and my sister and made up some excuses.”
After switching cars three different times, the family finally arrived in England and claimed asylum in 2008. They were housed with other asylum seekers in Liverpool for three months before being granted accommodation in Blackburn. Miss Khavas finally got her wish to attend school and went to St Wilfrid’s High School in Blackburn.
She said: “I did not know anybody when we came to Blackburn, but I wanted to make friends. I would say to people who judge us, that this is what I have been through, something you have fortunately never experienced.
“If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Would you not want to find a better place to live? It’s hard to understand unless you have seen that life.”
Miss Khavas, now studying media and make-up at Blackburn College, says that the war has destroyed her home in Kabul, and the whole of Afghanistan is ruined, but she is grateful that she got a second chance at life.
She said: “I feel like my life now is a dream when I think about what my life was like then. I just want wars to stop, because the people living in the countries like Afghanistan suffer the most. Most importantly to me, I just want my sister back. That would be my only dream.”