Briton ‘traumatised’ awaiting news of mother knocked unconscious fleeing Kabul

·3-min read

A British citizen has said she is “traumatised” awaiting news of her medically vulnerable mother, who was knocked unconscious while trying to flee Afghanistan.

Fereba Hafizi, a fashion photographer from Coventry, said her 79-year-old mother was left unconscious after being pushed over in a melee of people on her way to catch a flight with UK authorities on Wednesday morning.

According to her daughter, Layloma Hafizi, a dual British and Afghan citizen with a number of health conditions, had to be carried on her nephew’s back and dropped off at a pickup point at a Kabul hotel.

She was escorted inside on a wheelchair, but her daughter has heard nothing about her whereabouts since.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Fereba Hafizi says her mother should not be travelling alone (Fereba Hafizi)

“[My cousin] was assisting my mother… without his support and pushing people aside from her path it would not have been possible for her to even make it to the gate of the hotel,” Ms Hafizi, 29, told the PA news agency.

“He put her on his back and dragged himself through the last line of crowds.

“The consulate staff and the guards assisted them inside, but they immediately discharged my cousin as he did not have a foreign passport.

“I have lost all contact with her and I have absolutely no idea if she has recovered, or if the aircraft has departed or not.”

Layloma had travelled to Afghanistan a month ago to attend a funeral, which was for the father of the nephew who carried her, but then had difficulty booking a flight home due to Afghanistan being on England’s red list as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

She has a series of health issues, and her daughter fears she may have been escorted without a bag of vital medication which had been provided by the NHS.

Fereba said her mother “requires a wheelchair system when she travels, she’s diabetic, she’s got high cholesterol and arthritis”, has had two strokes in the past and is currently awaiting surgery.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Layloma Hafizi is said to have a number of health issues (Feraba Hafizi)

Fereba said: “I’m not able to get into any form of contact with my mother about her wellbeing. I’m worried and anxious about what is happening to her.

“All these uncertainties are draining me and making me feel traumatised.

“With all these medical conditions, she’s actually not fit to be travelling on her own.”

Fereba said the cousin who carried her mother is in the final stages of getting a visa to travel to the UK, but the closure of the embassy in Kabul is hampering his route out of the country.

“His father has passed away He is currently the sole breadwinner of his family,” she added.

“He has been working for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Unfortunately, with the current crises in Afghanistan, these individuals whom have been assisting and giving refuge to isolated women are on the Taliban’s target list.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of this case and offering consular assistance.

“We are working hard to contact the British nationals we know of who remain in Afghanistan, to help them leave the country.”

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