Afghan family flees for second time in eight months - this time from Ukraine

The family drove for more than 30 hours on crowded roads before waiting three days to reach Romania

'Mohammed' and his son 'Samad' escaped violence in Afghanistan eight months ago by moving to Ukraine. They and other family members were forced to flee again when the Russians attacked and they are looking for peace in Romania. PA.

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A family who escaped violence in Afghanistan last year have been forced to flee their home for a second time after war broke out in Ukraine.

"Mohammed", his wife and three children were evacuated from Afghanistan to Ukraine as a safe haven eight months ago and now they are the road again.

They set up their new lives in eastern Ukraine but had to flee the Russian military. As the fighting started, they heard explosions in the distance and made the decision to leave their home again.

“My family came here for peace but when they heard fighting would start here … nobody could believe that there would be bombing, there would be fighting, said Mohammed, 54.

"But it was real. It was not a dream."

His son "Samad", 14, said: "[In Afghanistan] it was war and it was bombing and very bad days. A lot of people were killed in this war. So we left Afghanistan.

“It was a very big thing for me to come from a war and live in a peaceful place. This was very good for me and my family. I made friends, I came to school and the people were very kind.

“It was just like this in Kabul. A lot of people wanted to leave Kabul and go to a peaceful place. And [in Ukraine], a lot of people wanted to leave and go to a peaceful place, for their children, for themselves.

“In the future I will miss a lot of things that I had there. [But] for us it's a very big thing for us to be safe. It's enough for us to be safe here.”

The family drove for more than 30 hours on crowded roads before waiting three days at the border, sleeping in their car while temperatures dropped outside.

They managed to cross the border and are in Suceava, Romania.

The family lived in eastern Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul last summer. They made it to the capital where they spent three days outside the airport trying to secure their escape.

Eventually they were able to fly to Ukraine, where Mohammed had lived and worked for 30 years.

They are now being supported by charity Save the Children, which is working in a reception centre where they are staying.

The charity has provided them with information and guidance, clothes and shoes.

The aid agency, which is a member of the Disaster Emergency Committee, is also on the border distributing food, blankets and hygiene kits.

More than £150 million ($196.4m) has been raised since the DEC launched its appeal last week, which includes £25m matched by the UK government.

“Children and families across Ukraine are facing impossible decisions every day," said Gabriela Alexandrescu, chief executive of Save the Children Romania.

"The choice between retreating below ground to try to survive a terrifying onslaught or abandoning everything and escaping as conflict rages is one no parent should have to make.

“To be forced to flee across borders twice in the space of months is almost impossible to conceive.”

Updated: March 11, 2022, 12:48 AM
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