For two decades, Sher Shah had worked alongside U.S. and Afghans to build a democratic country free from the Taliban and war. He had established a new life with his family in the U.S. with the help of Catholic Charities and a Catholic sponsor family, but briefly returned to Afghanistan this summer to attend his father’s funeral.
Now, he’s a man trying to escape the Taliban and get back home to the U.S.
On Aug. 15, Sher Shah (a pseudonym due to safety concerns) went to the barber for a haircut and shave. His mother sent him a desperate message telling him that the Taliban was at the gates of Kabul — by the time he emerged, the government had fled and the city had fallen. Without a single shot fired.
“We saw people with turbans, just wild, enter Kabul city,” he said, speaking to the Register from Kabul. “The security left their posts without engaging. They just left their posts.”
“It’s unbelievable. Everybody is in shock,” he said.
Sher Shah told the Register he changes location frequently. The Taliban is inflicting reprisals, he said, going from house to house at night. Among his friends, one woman barely escaped from her house while the Taliban shot her brother dead on the couch.
“The only thing that scares me is they know me and I’ve been all over Afghanistan,” he said.
Sher Shah was born during Afghanistan’s civil wars. The last time Afghanistan knew peace was the “Shah time,” when Afghanistan’s kings ruled until they were overthrown in 1973. Back then, the country had freedom of movement and was modernizing — but they had a dysfunctional economy. But the country has never been at peace since.
“I grew up with war, I was raised with war, and my kids were raised in the war,” he said.
Sher Shah missed precious moments in his children’s lives so that he could work to give them an Afghanistan he never got to grow up in.
“I missed all those moments just to build this country. And now it’s destroyed again.”
Sher Shah said he is deeply grateful for the support of the Church, Catholic Charities, his Catholic sponsor family and their parish.
“They’re looking after them,” he said. He said the prayers of the Church, family, and friends “means a lot to us.”
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