November 28, 2021
Basir knows what it feels like to have your freedom taken away in the blink of an eye. It is not easy for him to put his escape across the Pakistani border into words. There is only one word he keeps dropping: Bad luck. “ Just as my family and I arrived at the Pakistani forces checkpoint, we got in the wrong queue”, he relates. “And they sent us back to Afghanistan.” He sighs. “ I was sure bad luck was following me. So we went back to the hotel and tried again the next day.”
Again hours of waiting. Again between thousands of people hoping that things will soon move a little bit forward. They all want to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. “ Some were overrun in the crowd”, Basir tells. “ I saw the many injured people. My children were crying. They are just two and four years old. I took them in my arms and left our bags behind.” The two suitcases contained everything the family wanted to take with them to Pakistan. When Basir finally crossed the border with his wife and children, they were left with nothing. “ But we didn’t care. We could start a new life. And that was the most important.”
Just a few months ago, Basir was content with his life. He was responsible for the radio program of the Bawar Media Center in Mazar-i-Sharif – a news outlet set up by NATO and the Bundeswehr. “ We have supported the Afghan National Army with our content”, he says. “ I remember once we got a call during a live broadcast.” Basir’s colleagues just reported on two journalists killed by the Taliban. “ The caller wanted to know how we could talk so badly about the Taliban. They were just doing their job.” During the conversation, it turned out that the man on the other end of the line was himself a Taliban fighter. The terrorists were following Basir’s work very closely.
Basir will never forget the moment when he and his family passed the last checkpoint. When they reached Quetta, the megacity in western Pakistan, exhausted. Without clothing, hardly any money in their pockets. “I felt like I was newborn. At that moment, bad luck left me.” Soon they fly to Germany, start a new life there. The fact that they have left all their belongings behind doesn’t bother them. “ But it’s hard to leave behind colleagues from the media center”, says Basir. 15 of them are still in Afghanistan, still on the run from the Taliban. So are more than 3,800 other local forces of the German government. They are all still waiting to be rescued. Basir decided to save himself.
Fotos: Achim Schmidt
Text: Kathrin Braun