Daughter of shopkeeper killed in Kabul blast pleads for help getting mother to UK

Zohra Popal's mother lost all her paperwork when her husband was killed

The family of a British shopkeeper who was killed in the terrorist attack at Kabul airport say they feel ignored by the UK foreign office.

Musa Popal, 60, was among three British citizens, including a child, who were killed in the suicide attack on Thursday. Mohamed Niazi, 29, an Uber driver from Aldershot, Hampshire, was also killed.

Zohra Popal, 23, fears for the life of her mother Saleema, 60, who remains in Afghanistan, and members of her family who she believes could be targeted by the Taliban.

She said: “I just want to hug my Dad once more, and I want to kiss my mother.

“My nephew, Hameed Popal, who is just 14 years old, is still missing after the bomb. And now I’m really worried about my mum and other siblings being targeted by the Taliban.

“I don’t think any of us could take another loss.”

Mr Popal was a British-Afghan who moved to the UK in 1999. He had been running the Madeena Supermarket in Hendon, north London, for more than 20 years.

He and his wife flew to Kandahar in south Afghanistan in June to visit family, including their son and daughter who still live in the country.

Amid rising tensions after the Taliban takeover, they travelled to Kabul airport.

Mr Popal is said to have been waving his British passport at American soldiers at the gate when the blast happened.

Ms Popal said the foreign office had not made contact since news of her father’s death was confirmed.

She said: “My mother, she had to crawl away, covered in blood and pieces of people. She saw everything.

“There was blood everywhere, she told us, and they were slipping in it when they were trying to get up.

“It was so loud that some of them are still deaf and can’t hear each other. It was a living nightmare for them.

“Had we known anything like this would happen, we wouldn’t have let them go.”

Mrs Popal, who was watching from a distance, was uninjured, but their grandson Hameed, who was standing with Mr Popal, remains missing.

“My mum, she has no documents now because my Dad was holding everything when he died,” Ms Popal said.

“She and the rest of my family are still in danger, and we still might lose them. And yet we can’t get through to the Foreign Office.

“Their number is constantly engaged. We feel completely ignored.

“But we must get them to safety. I can’t live without them. We need the Government’s help.”

Ms Popal, who moved to the UK in 2014, attended the College of North West London and wants to become a computer scientist.

She said her father had “given us everything”, was “loving” and “supportive”, and had always helped her with assignments.

She added: “I think of my 21-year-old niece Harifa, who was excited to go to university and become a doctor, and I am so sad. She’s really scared now and with the Taliban she won’t be allowed to do anything.

“Our country has been ruined and people’s futures taken from them, and their lives.”

Updated: August 30th 2021, 9:06 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS