The Afghan who swapped high office for food delivery bike in Germany

Communications expert Sayed Sadaat left government to move to eastern city of Leipzig

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The career path between politics and food delivery may not be well-trodden but this rarity has not been enough to deter Sayed Sadaat.

The former Afghan government communications minister moved to Germany in September 2020 in the hope of a better future, before the country was recaptured by the Taliban. Now he is a delivery man in the eastern city of Leipzig.

Some at home criticised him for taking the position after having served in high office for two years until 2018.

Mr Sadaat, 49, who also holds British citizenship, has no time for such sentiments: for him, a job is a job.

"I have nothing to feel guilty about," he told Reuters, standing in his orange uniform next to his bike.

"I hope other politicians follow the same path ... rather than just hiding."

Despite his high-flying background, Mr Sadaat struggled to find a job in Germany that matched his experience. With degrees in IT and telecommunications, he had hoped to find work in a related field – but because he was unable to speak German, his chances were slim.

"The language is the most important part," he said.

Every day he practises German for four hours at a language school before starting a six-hour evening shift delivering meals for Lieferando, where he started this summer.

"The first few days were exciting but difficult," he said, describing the challenge of learning to cycle in the city traffic.

With practice, those teething problems are now a thing of the past.

A bellwether for fellow Afghans

Mr Sadaat's new role has gained particular prominence as chaos unfolds in his home country after the Taliban takeover.

Family and friends of his also want to leave and hope to join the thousands of others on evacuation flights or trying to find other routes out, despite the dangers illustrated by Thursday's ISIS bomb attacks at Kabul airport.

The number of Afghan asylum seekers in Germany has risen by more than 130 per cent since the US announced its intention to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees showed.

Updated: August 27th 2021, 10:02 AM
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