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Afghan refugees escaped the Taliban, some now stuck in Ukraine conflict

Ukraine Invasion
Posted at 4:30 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 19:30:44-05

Masouma Tajik's story is incredible. She was only 2-years-old when the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan cast out the Taliban from their position of power in that country. Then after 20 years of war, the U.S. left, and the Taliban took over again turning an unimaginable additional amount of Afghans into refugees.

Tajik left Afghanistan, with no hope of staying in her country. A Ukrainian Air Force plane took her and others to Kyiv on Aug. 22, she told Foreign Policy. Now she finds herself, unbelievably, stuck in another major conflict, in a country she knows little about. She said she began Googling the tactics of the Russian military to see if they compared to that of the Taliban, to try and gain some understanding of the situation she found herself in.

Another Afghan refugee, Jawed Ahmad Haqmal, left Afghanistan under similar circumstances. Haqmal had worked as a translator for the Canadian military in Afghanistan. He left in August and was evacuated to Ukraine. While waiting for the Canadian government to respond to his asylum claim he now finds himself trapped in Ukraine amid conflict, the CBC reported.

"I can't go forward. I can't go backward. I'm even not able to go back to Afghanistan. There is no way left for me, so I have to accept everything. If all my family dies in front of me, I cannot do anything," he said.

"Just seeing outside like a war zone, the same situation I've seen in Afghanistan when Kabul was falling — just explosions, bullets, people are running, roads are blocked, there are armies on the roads," Haqmal said.

Bilal Dostzada tried to escape Ukraine with his wife and child by car for the Polish border. He made it to the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“We’ve not slept, we have not eaten since yesterday,” Dostzada told Vice News. “In the news, we’ve read that the border is open to receive us. But ever since I arrived last night, the queues are getting longer, and nobody is letting us enter,” he said. “I left behind a very bad situation in Afghanistan,” said Dostzada

Dostzada escaped Afghanistan in 2019 and says, "Now I’m in a bad situation again.” 

The U.N. plans to seek over $1 billion in donations for humanitarian relief in Ukraine over the next three months, the world body’s humanitarian chief said Friday.

Martin Griffiths said at a news briefing that the exact amount of the appeal is still being decided but will be “well north of $1 billion.”

The U.N. announced Thursday that it was immediately allocating $20 million to expand its humanitarian operations in Ukraine. Even before Russia’s attack this week, the world body estimated about 3 million people were in need of aid after years of fighting between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government in the country’s east.

Now, “the scale of need in these very, very extraordinary circumstances is going to be of the highest,” Griffiths said.

The U.N. issues multiple appeals each year for international donors, mainly governments, to finance humanitarian efforts in troubled spots around the world. Last month, it requested more than $5 billion for Afghanistan, the largest-ever appeal tied to a single country.