I huddled in the sewer for four hours, surrounded by dirt and stench, flies biting me all over. I knew the Taliban men had come to kill me.
To leave when Afghanistan needs more help than ever would have been a real betrayal. If I had also left, who would stay?
In the past two decades, we could dream. We could become doctors, college instructors, business owners. We could drive, compete in sports, represent our country in parliament. Now, that is all gone.
I was the only point of contact for the girls and their families. Hope was hard to come by, but I couldn’t leave my sisters behind.
Batons, sticks, electrical cables, and whips pummeled my thighs, back, shoulder, and face. The blows broke my right hand. My mouth oozed blood, and bruises covered my body. When I begged for my release, they just beat me harder.
I closed the shop and rushed to my house. The bodies of my children and wife lay buried under the debris. My father, brother, and neighbors helped me carry my dead family out of the rubble.
I ask, “Why am I alive,” when I cannot study, work, or even move about. For 20 years, I have dreamed. Every single second—every moment of my life—I was proud to be a woman in Afghanistan. Now, we are left with nothing but a grim life and dread of the future.
If Afghan citizens cooperated with us, the enemy killed or intimidated them. During the day, to our faces, they loved us. But at night, when we could no longer protect them, they loved the Taliban.
They risked their lives as interpreters for the British Armed Forces in their home of Afghanistan. Now the UK is gone, the Taliban have taken over, and they're lives are in danger.