They testify: Afghan women in exile, a pain and a dramatic chance

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Solnia “I can’t imagine an Afghanistan at peace”

At 27, Solnia is a volunteer in an association helping migrants. Woman of the press, she left Afghanistan in 2017.

She spontaneously offers to translate the words of her companions … Solnia takes care of it as a duty, and, so that each of them is comfortable, she first takes care to explain what the we want to know: what was their job in the country, what life they led, why they decided to leave, how they got there, if they are suffering from exile, if they are thinking of returning and what hope they have for the Afghanistan.

Solnia pronounces long sentences in her mother tongue, and all listen attentively. A few smiles, nods, then there she is in the role of designated translator. “Give me your notebook, I will write down the first names, they are not easy to remember. I am going to be your collaborator, I am also a journalist, ”she says straight away, taking a serious look. It is the moment of the story, she now speaks in the tone of confidence.

Solnia is 27 years old, she volunteers in an association to help migrants while waiting to be able to pursue university studies in France. In Kabul, she worked for a TV channel and two local radio stations. “I loved my job, the multiplicity of subjects fascinated me, social themes for the most part, an inexhaustible field, there was so much to say …”

Woman of the press, Solnia was also a translator for the American army. Moment of silence. This constitutes a sensitive point of the story. “I was quickly targeted and threatened for this task, despite my discretion and all the precautions to show nothing …”. So, we had to leave and quickly. “I did not wait for the arrival of the Taliban, something that no one doubted. “

Solnia left her country in 2017, in the hands of smugglers. “It was not possible to do otherwise. The road was long, very long. “Sometimes on foot, sometimes by car… Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy”, then France, destination of his choice.

The Turkish authorities have meanwhile accelerated the construction of a concrete wall 3 meters high by 295 km to block the road to Afghans coming from Iran. “We operate with a thousand surveillance vehicles, equipped with night vision equipment with thermal imaging. Thanks to electro-optical towers and acoustic sensors, it is very easy to detect any mobility on the border, ”said Hulusi Akar, Turkish Minister of Defense, at the site. Solnia therefore narrowly passed.

What about the Taliban that she did not see break out, unlike her family who remained in Kabul? “I constantly imagine the worst. They are not Muslims, but quite simply criminals. They have only one idea in mind: to secure the submission of women and take the life of anyone who does not share their madness. »Solnia will soon go to perform the penultimate prayer of the day, that of the afternoon. “I have only known war, I cannot imagine an Afghanistan in peace, but I pray constantly for this hope. “

SHABNAM “The Taliban will end up killing each other”

In France for a few weeks, Shabnam, journalist and footballer of 21 years, does not envisage “any possible return for the moment and prays for the safety of his family remained in Kabul”.

“The news that reaches us is frightening. My friends, who did the same job, those who were passionate about any sport, no longer dare to go out, including those accompanied by their male parents, even hidden under a niqab. They have the impression of being recognizable at first glance. They fear reprisals… ”Shabnam admits that she was very lucky. With the support of friends at the French Embassy, ​​she was able to cross the border towards Pakistan, provided with a laissez-passer on the basis of documents attesting to her work and her sporting practice.

“Joining France was no longer a difficulty, I had a lot of facilities compared to other people forced to leave. Other Afghans, women and men, mostly young people, have been exfiltrated in the same way, says Shabnam. Were it not for this possibility, “I would have done like the others, the airport, the smugglers… I was all set,” she explains.

The return ? “No way to think about it for now. I only pray for the safety of mine who remain in Kabul. »The hope of better days for the country? “The Taliban are certainly strong and dominant, they have no one in front of them. But they won’t hold on, maybe they’ll even end up killing each other, they don’t have the experience of power… ”Clairvoyant, Shabnam? “No, like everyone here, hope is so strong that sometimes we see what suits us …”

SIMIN “Leaving had become an obsession”

At 21, Simin left Kabul just after the Taliban took power.

“A nightmare… pushes and bumps and all the risks you can imagine for a woman, but I couldn’t give it up…” Simin, 21, mingled with the crowd every day that flocked to the house. Kabul airport after the arrival of the Taliban. Leaving, leaving at any cost “had become an obsession. I had no other choice, unless I submitted to their dictatorship, ”explains the one who devoted all her available time to raising awareness among housewives.

“Before (the Taliban) arrived, it was still a question of rights to defend, those I met were determined, they wanted to fight. They really believed in it. They even imagined avoiding forced marriages for their daughters, and pushing them to get an education, ”she says. Then everything collapsed. Their little world suddenly darkened. There is no longer any question of talking about rights, nor of sharing any hope. Simin had to give up. She even buried her plan to study political science after the first two years in… agriculture.

She smiles. “I have a fighter temperament. I didn’t want to let go. But living the horror of the Taliban around the corner was not an option. Yes, I absolutely wanted to leave. So, with his friend Mustapha, who “speaks French very well”, they put together, piece by piece, a file submitted to the French Embassy, ​​which was still holding the door open in the airport. The miracle happened. “We were kind enough to take into account my profile as a very young student and my volunteer work with women. Simin was able to board a plane, Mustapha too. His exile is already a pain to live. “I constantly think of my family, of my sister who is a doctor and can no longer exercise …”

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