Department: Talent Management
My name is Nadia Arifi, one of the current AUCA Students studying Masters in Talent Management and Human Potential Development in Organizations. I am an Alumni of the USG Program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from AUCA in 2019.
The night of the 14th of August, I was sitting with my family at the dinner table and heard the news of the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif which was of course very disappointing. I was working for a telecom company and they had already sent us a message that tomorrow, especially female employees, should stay at home. We ate food but without noticing the taste. That night we all could not sleep. The next day on the 15th of August, in the morning, suddenly I heard the news of the entrance of the Taliban into Kabul city. I remember my mom and brother were outside. I was at home and trying to reach and call them but the signal was not working to get connected. I was worried because what if the Taliban start firing, what if the heard and saw incidents of 20 years ago repeat. What if around the city there is a gunshot then what about my mom and brother. Until my mom and brother arrived home, I was broken inside and was looking at the door when they would enter.
The day Kabul fell, the first thought that came to my mind was “life is over”. All the education, all the efforts in these years are gone especially for women. I never thought about wearing Burqa. I was suddenly a person who could even accept Burqa to be able to go to work or outside.
Luckily, AUCA provided a Master’s scholarship this year which was before the fall of Kabul. There was a hope of evacuation after we noticed the evacuation of other citizens and people from the airport especially with the presence of the American and other troops. It was not only us (Master’s students) but also other students who came for the summer vacation and some newcomers. The feeling of being evacuated was at the same time very delightful and sad. It was delightful because we could get out and be safe but sad because we didn’t know when the next time we might see our family would be.
Kyrgyzstan is a second home to me and moving to Kyrgyzstan was a joyful feeling. However, leaving everything behind made me realize that no matter what you have in life, the only main source you can carry and matters is yourself.
The journey was fearful. Thanks to AUCA and the team for all the arrangements and making sure of the safety but the situation was unknown to all despite how prepared one was for the trip. The road journey was more fearful because of the Taliban checkpoints. I remember when we arrived at the checkpoint, we did not even want to show our faces to them and our faces were covered with the scarf. Overall, all the students were very concerned until we got through the border. The border was one of the toughest ways to get through. A lot of people were standing and waiting for hours and days to get through the border but we were one of the luckiest people who got through the border within a few hours. Some of the students had concerns regarding their families, one girl said: “My father is sick, he loves me so much because I am the youngest among my siblings and a special child for him, but what to do… He told me to leave and go” and some others were concerned of the current economic situations since they were the only breadwinner of the family: “I was the only one who worked and provided for the family, now that I am out, who will be there for them, who will take care of them…” and almost all the students were very hopeless for the future of Afghanistan : “Afghanistan will not be built in our generation, and there is no single hope for the country to be built, all we can do is just pray and try on ourselves and on our health so that our family and loved ones in Afghanistan feel better when we are better… we should think of our future and how we can and should provide for our families when we are out…”.
The first arrival to Bishkek was like being at home. When I saw the AUCA crew at the airport, waiting for us with the list in their hands and with the provided transportation and food, I was overwhelmed. I did not expect the arrangements and it was the feeling of caring, supporting and love. I wish there was something I could do personally but they are always in my prayers, thoughts, and I wish them happiness and health. Their tireless efforts, without nights of sleep, and doing all the official work especially with the government officials is remarkable and I wish no one ever in their life faces the situation as we did because for us, we had our AUCA family but what if others have no one for their support?
The feeling of home and future always automatically comes with Afghanistan. When I think of the future and house, Afghanistan is there no matter what the situation. I wish to return to Afghanistan, and one of my biggest hopes is to be able to contribute back to my own country. We are from Afghanistan, no matter where we go, where we settle down but the feeling of belongingness will remain until we are alive.
A big thank you from the heart to the team who helped us with the evacuation process. Starting from President Jonathan Becker, the International Students Office team (Aseliya, Asel, Alima, Indira, Zhamilia and Zarlasht Sarmast for their support and helping students with everything.