Muhibullah is a translator in his thirties who has been working with western companies and the US Army in Kandahar, a city in the south of Afghanistan, for several years. Scared for his life and worried about his connection to the west’s impact on his family, he fled Kandahar ahead of the Taliban arriving in Afghanistan’s second city, leaving his wife and four children behind. (His fears were justified: Kandahar fell to the Taliban on August 13.) He arrived in Kabul for only the second time of his life on July 13.
And now, a month on, the Taliban are in Kabul, the Afghan president has abandoned the country to the militia, and Muhibullah is shorn from the connections he made as a translator in a new city. “We are stuck here,” he says. “ We don’t know what will happen.” When Muhibullah learned the Taliban had arrived in the capital city on August 15 he immediately burned some of the documents that showed he had worked for the United States. Now, like so many Afghans, he is trying to find a way out.
Others who have worked with the US have kept documents but hidden them, knowing that such paperwork is vital to gain a visa and a potential route out of Afghanistan. But it remains a horrific quandary: Taliban militia are already reportedly going door-to-door to find those who have worked with foreign governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).