Watch: Tears flow as woman reunites with family in France after Kabul escape
The 36-year-old has been living away from her family in Paris for 12 years
When Shakiba Dawod reunited with her mother on Friday, all the stress and terror of trying to get her family out of Afghanistan evaporated, and she collapsed and cried.
Standing outside a reception centre near Paris, Dawod, who has lived in France for 12 years, hugged her 56-year-old mother, Qadira, who arrived with another daughter and three sons on a rescue flight to the departure from Kabul. The two women were sobbing and stroking their faces and hair.
A shopping bag with groceries Dawod had brought for her family was lying forgotten on the sidewalk nearby.
“There is a lot of emotion today,” Dawod, 36, told Reuters minutes after the meeting. “The moment I saw my mother running towards me, all of those fears were gone.“
Dawod said her family felt they had to flee Afghanistan due to pressure from the new Taliban leadership. A brother, she said, had served in the Afghan army and was killed by the Taliban in 2019.
The family said they spent days and nights unsuccessfully trying to escape the crowds and military checkpoints blocking access to the airport.
Eventually, they did so after Dawod – back in France – helped them contact the French contingent at the airport. They were evacuated from Kabul on a French plane. When they arrived on Tuesday, they were sent to a reception centre on the outskirts of Paris for quarantine as a Covid-19 precaution.
“I don’t know how we got here. It’s like a dream,” said one of the brothers, Mahdi, 34.
Dawod brought them bags of supplies on Thursday, but was turned back by police guarding the entrance. They were finally allowed to leave the reception centre briefly on Friday, when restrictions were relaxed.
“In Afghanistan, everything collapsed, their hopes and dreams collapsed,” Dawod said after reuniting with his family. “I hope I can help them dream again and rebuild their lives. “
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