As the Taliban were seizing Kabul in mid-August, Sabur Shah Dawod Zai, an adviser in the Afghan government, found himself in the middle of desperate and shouting crowds at the Kabul airport attempting to flee said that these scenes of desperation and doom him will haunt him forever.
Before the collapse of the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, Dawod Zai served as an adviser with the deputy minister of interior affairs in Afghanistan. He was also a supervisor at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan.
Dawod Zai who is from the Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan recalled that the country was developing very well.
“We have a good education system good security system but there were some problems with different countries like Pakistan, Iran, China, and so on,” he told Sputnik.
August 15, when the Taliban seized power, became one of the darkest days for Dawod Zai. After the group took control of Kabul, the civilian Afghan government collapsed and a number of high-ranking politicians, including Ghani, left the country.
In September, the Taliban announced an all-male interim government, headed by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, who served as the foreign minister during the previous Taliban rule and has been under UN sanctions since 2001.
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“I was in Capital Kabul [on August 15], it was a very bad day in my life because 20 years of achievement, 20 years of experience was finished on the same day,” he admitted.
Dawod Zai was shocked and refused to accept the news until he saw the Taliban fighters with his own eyes.
“I was crying and suddenly called my father that our president left country and Taliban’s are in power and he said: ‘be safe and try to come to the house as soon as possible!'” he recalled.
A week later, he decided to flee the Afghan capital to avoid persecution from the Islamist movement. Dawod Zai recalled that he was leaving with a heavy heart.
“I didn’t want to but sometimes circumstances leave you with no options. throughout my career, I have worked with honesty and integrity and I never imagined that I will leave Kabul like this,” he said.
However, what he saw at Kabul airport was horrifying — thousands of people, including women and children, were trying to get out of the capital. Dawod Zai spent two days near the airport in the hope to flee.
“Forty-eight hours, with no food and no sleep, only one or two hours of sleep, but in the queue, we had only a few bottles of water and some biscuits,” he recalled.
After that, when he entered the airport, he tried to find the Polish army which agreed to help him with evacuating himself and his wife.
“[Next] morning I came with the Polish army to the front gate of airport to identify my wife in the crowd, then they brought my wife inside the airport and we were there for around 5 hours after that we got to the Polish army aircraft,” he recalled.
They fled Kabul to Uzbekistan and then boarded a commercial flight to the Polish capital of Warsaw. He is now living in Warsaw with his wife.
The US-led NATO troops were withdrawn by August 31, ending the nearly 20-year foreign military presence in the Central Asian country. Several days later, the Taliban announced the composition of its interim government.
Dawod Zai recalls that a few people managed to flee the country.
“There were more than a thousand of people but only 10-20 percent of people who had passports like the US, British, Canada, and European Union were be able to flee the country,” he said.
Yet, Dawod Zai is not planning to live in Poland forever and hopes to come back to Afghanistan one day and to begin his service to his people and his country again.
“But the horrible and dreadful scenes and desperation of people at Kabul airport will haunt me forever. People didn’t deserve to see this. A lot to say and it is time that unveils the truth,” he concluded.”