It is with a breaking heart that I share this with all of you. 16 of my close family members, including two young children (ages 2 and 9) and three older women, fled Afghanistan on June 22nd and have since been stranded in the international section of the Istanbul airport. They were compelled to leave their homes because their lives were threatened by the Taliban after the recent U.S. troops withdrawal. A few of them had worked for and assisted humanitarian efforts of international organizations working to improve conditions in Afghanistan, especially focusing on education for all. They had no choice but to flee the terror in Afghanistan after a family member was killed by armed insurgents earlier in June.
It was almost a miracle when they found out at the funeral, that they may have a way out of Afghanistan if they sell all their livelihoods to buy tickets to the Euro Cup 2020 in Russia without the need for a visa. They sold every earthly possession they had to afford the cost of travel to Russia. When they boarded the first leg of the trip into Turkey, all of us on this side of the world felt so much joy but sadly it did not last long. They were not permitted to take the second flight as Russia unexpectedly closed its borders to people from Afghanistan.
Their uncertain fate is breaking our hearts when we can't do anything for them but to pray that they can find a way out to live somewhere in peace. More than three weeks have passed, and their pleas for help made to multiple aid organizations have not yet been successful. They have tried every possible avenue; such as the United Nations Office in Turkey, Office of Human Rights in Turkey, and the Afghanistan and Turkish Embassies. They have not received a positive response yet, and the constant fear of deportation is the story of their lives.
I started this channel hoping for humanitarian and financial help for their basic needs; food, medication, legal expenses, and shelter.
For more information about their story, follow the links below:
CBS news: Afghan family stranded at airport 3 weeks after desperate bid to escape Taliban "death sentence"
The Guardian: Afghan family trapped in Istanbul airport after fleeing Taliban threats
CNN Istanbul: Afghan refugee family stranded at airport
Ariana News Afghanistan: Afghan family stranded at Istanbul airport for three weeks
Hurriyet Daily News Turkey: Afghan family stranded at Istanbul Airport for three weeks