Afghanistan: Fleeing the Taliban into Pakistan and leaving dreams
International desk || shiningbd
With the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, thousands have fled their homes in fear. While much of the attention has focused on the crowds thronging Kabul airport, thousands of others have fled to neighbouring Pakistan over the Chaman border. Shumaila Jaffery speaks to some of them.
The Chaman Spin Boldak border is one of the busiest crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan with thousands of traders and travellers passing through this dusty town every day.
But these days, the traffic from the Afghan side is particularly high as thousands flee possible persecution by the Taliban.
From dawn till dusk they pour in - hundreds of men with luggage on their shoulders, burqa-clad women walking briskly behind their men, children clinging to their mothers, exhausted in the scorching heat, and even patients pushed on wheelbarrows.
Zirqoon Bibi*, a 57-year-old woman belonging to the minority Hazara community, has only just arrived in Pakistan when I meet her.
The Hazara group has been persecuted by the Taliban in the past, with a recent brutal attack on some men of the community reigniting fears of what Taliban rule would look like for them.
"My heart is burning (with pain)" she repeatedly sobs when I ask how she is. "I ask myself what will become of my son, my only son".
Her son, who works for a British company, has been trying to leave the country without success.
She says she already lost her daughter-in-law to a bomb blast by the Taliban targeting the Hazara community a few years ago.
"I felt so lost (after her death) that I couldn't sleep for a long time. The Taliban are terrible people, I am scared of them".