Twin Afghan boys who were reunited in the UK this week after being separated for a year following the Taliban takeover in Kabul, are afraid for the safety of their parents.
The joyous moment 11-year-old Obaidullah Jabarkhyl was reunited with his twin Irfanullah in London on Wednesday was tinged with sadness when their cousin had to give him the heartbreaking news that their parents were missing.
The twins have been separated for more than a year after Obaidullah was mistakenly sent to France on his own during the evacuation of Kabul while his twin Irfanullah was sent to the UK to be reunited with his cousin Qamar Jabarkhyl's family as planned under the UK's Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
The twins, then aged 10, were separated from their parents during the Kabul Airport bombing last August as thousands of people tried to flee the Taliban.
“I have not been in contact with both of their parents for a long time and I had to tell Obaidullah the sad news when he arrived,” Mr Jabarkhyl, 28, told The National.
“The last time I spoke to his mum was in May, the last time I spoke to his dad was last December.
“I don’t know where their dad is at the moment, what sort of condition he is in or what has happened to him. He is missing.”
Obaidullah’s parents and sister could not be evacuated with the boys and had moved to a rural area of Afghanistan after Jalalabad was overtaken by the Taliban.
Their family had worked with Nato and Mr Jabarkhyl's uncle is now in hiding.
The boy's mother previously told Mr Jabarkhyl, who is a British citizen living in London, that she feared for her life.
“His mother thinks that she will never see them again. She thinks she will be killed,” he said.
"I need to be honest with the boys and tell them the truth and give them as much support as possible by putting them into school and occupying their time with clubs so they can be moving forward with their lives, because we are their parents now, technically.
"I may never get their parents for them, but I will be the parent figure for them."
Mr Jabarkhyl arrived in the UK in 2003 after his family fled the previous Afghanistan war and grew up in London obtaining a civil engineering degree from Kingston University and became an engineer.
He has been fighting for months to get the Home Office to allow Obaidullah into the country to come and live with him.
On Wednesday, the family was finally reunited after border officials put the youngster on the Paris Eurostar.
He was greeted by a big fanfare on his arrival at St Pancras International in London where his brother was the first to run and hug him in an emotional reunion.
"We feel so happy," they told The National.
"We now just want to move on and forget the past."
Obaidullah had spent the past year stranded in a camp in Strasbourg being cared for by fellow refugees.