The Current

'My heart will bleed forever': Afghan-Canadian woman fears for her family in Kabul

Anna hasn’t been able to sleep, as she worries for her family in Afghanistan. The Canadian-Afghan woman, whose real name CBC isn’t using for safety concerns, is trying to get her mother, father, brother and sister to Canada.

An Afghan-Canadian woman is working day and night to bring her family to Canada

A Qatari security personnel and Taliban fighters stand guard as passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft at the airport in Kabul on September 9. (Wakil Kohasar/AFP/Getty Images)

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Anna hasn't been able to sleep, as she worries for her family in Afghanistan. The Afghan-Canadian woman is trying to get her mother, father, brother and sister to Canada. 

Once the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, Anna feared for their safety. 

"I was scared to death, especially for my dad and my brother, because I know what they do and I know what the Taliban are capable of," Anna told The Current's Matt Galloway.

The CBC is withholding Anna's real name because of safety concerns.

Anna moved to Canada by herself years ago because her father was being followed by the Taliban and the family was worried about her safety. Now she's a Canadian citizen, and wants her family to make the same move.  

Anna's father has worked in Afghanistan for 35 years, prosecuting members of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Now he's in hiding, which he says was the most difficult decision of his life.  

For years, Anna has tried to convince her father and family to move to Canada, but her father refused. He said Afghanistan was his home, he was doing important work, and that was where he wanted to spend his retirement.

Women gather to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul on Sept. 3. (Wali Sabawoon/The Associated Press)

But after the Taliban took over the country, he made a call to his daughter in Canada. 

"He has asked me for help. He said, 'do what you can do to help us,'" said Anna.

"That was the most difficult and heartbreaking moment for me, because he would have never, ever asked me to help him get out of the country. That was the last thing that he wanted to do."

Taliban rule

When the Taliban took over Kabul, Anna's sister, Mariam, was terrified. The CBC is also withholding her real name as well for safety concerns. 

"In a matter of a few hours, everything just changed," said Mariam. 

Mariam said now that the Taliban are in charge, she won't be able to leave the house, work, pursue her PhD, or even wear her regular clothes.

"I will spend my whole life in this house, not going to be able to go out to pursue my dreams, to work. So it is extremely difficult for me. It's extremely difficult," said Mariam. 

Taliban fighters stand guard along a street in Kabul on September 9. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)

Anna is happy to be in Canada. She has a husband, a child and a job. But she misses her family, and being safe has come with guilt. 

 "I'm safe here, and the fact that my family is not is stressing me more. And I can't even sleep at night because I feel I don't deserve this. I should have been with them," said Anna. "I'm heartbroken and my heart will bleed forever."

Anna has been calling and sending emails to whoever she can to try and bring her family home. 

The CBC did request an update from the government of Canada on its ability to evacuate family members of Canadian citizens. 

In a statement, the government said Canada and its allies have received assurances from the Taliban that Afghan citizens with travel authorization from other countries will be allowed to leave Afghanistan. 

The statement said Canada has been firmly committed to helping evacuate as many people as it could from Afghanistan as long as it was safe to do so. 


Written by Philip Drost. Produced by Ines Colabrese and Lara O'Brien.

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