Zeba’s Story from Kabul to Wisconson; the chaotic airport where people were shot by the Taliban for fleeing the country

“No one can stop us!” Zeba

Zeba is a Human rights, women’s rights activist and a leader.

Author: Zeba Mohammadi

I am Zeba Karimi from Afghanistan I was born in Ghazni province and grew up in Kabul. I completed my high school in Kabul and graduated from a private school name was Kooshan high school. During my school time, I worked very hard and got the first position in the class as well as I was a member of the students’ console. Also, I joined many workshops and participated as a volunteer in different organizations.

Based on my interest in the English language I took an English course and could complete up to level five because I was in grade 10 and was supposed to be ready for the Kankor examination.  That is why I  left English class instead got mathematics which was essential for passing Kankor. But I was always searching for scholarships and had a dream to complete my studies in a foreign country. In addition, when I became grade 12 I got preparation for Kankor as well as applied for Turkish and Bangladesh scholarships. I was very optimistic about my future because I tried a lot and I was completely sure that I  can pass the Kankor examination and catch one of the scholarships.  Finally, l passed the exam and got the chance to enter the Kabul university at the same time, I was nominated for a Bangladesh scholarship. It was a great accomplishment for me and for the first time I felt that I am powerful and talented.  

After these two enormous achievements I had two choices for my university studies,  Kabul university or Asian university for women and I was supposed to choose one of them. At this point, I asked my family to give me suggestions for choosing the better one.  They preferred Asian university for women rather than Kabul university and I agreed with them Moreover, all my friends recommended I do my education in a foreign country because Afghanistan is not safe for all humans, especially for women and girls.

In 2019 I  left Afghanistan and joined the Asian university for women (AUW). Honestly, It was a great dream for me to study at Kabul university because it is an international university and all the people who live in different provinces of Afghanistan try to study at Kabul university that is why it is challenging to be a student of this university. When I was getting prepared for Kankor I had a schedule according to that, I was supposed to wake up at  3 AM,  practiced mathematics up to 6 then had breakfast, and left home for school.

I was 6 hours at school each day and from 1 PM to 5 PM I had a Kankor preparation course and I could be back at home at 6:30 PM. Each day I had a similar schedule and I could sleep just three or four hours in the whole 24 hours.  But I am so pleased that I had the capacity of managing the time, dealing with all those hard situations, and fortunately gaining my goals. In the case of scholarship, that was a huge opportunity for me to grow up my talents and see all my dreams in the real world.  The first year of AUW was interesting for me because I found myself in a new environment with a variety of people,  different thoughts, and amazing cultures.

I studied for two semesters at AUW but unfortunately, the second one was online because of the Covid-19 and all the students were back in Afghanistan. According to my observation, the awful part of my story is leaving my valuable county Afghanistan for the second time in a disappointing situation. On 15 August The Taliban attacked Kabul and occupied the entire city of Kabul.  When the Taliban entered,  that was the most horrible moment of my life. The whole city was in complete silence,  women and children were running to their house with fear and all were trying to get home as soon as possible.

About two weeks before the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, our university decided to take us back to university, and approximately all our works were done and we were ready to travel. But the capture of Kabul by the Taliban destroyed all plans and flights were closed.  All the girls were in a very unpleasant situation and had lost hope because the chances of leaving Afghanistan were limit the only people allowed to leave Afghanistan after the arrival of the Taliban were those who had green cards or worked with the Americans. But the university decided to expel the students from Afghanistan, so all the students were coordinated to go to Kabul airport. The first day we arrived at the airport, we met a crowd of people, including children and women. 

Everyone tried to get inside the airport, but the Taliban fired from all sides and in many cases even shot at people or whipped them away from the airport gate. Fear gripped everyone and the whole space was filled with children crying, women screaming, and the sound of Taliban’s gunfire.  That day was the first day of my life when I watched all these horrible events closely and was in danger of death. Finally, after three days and nights of hard work and tolerating much terror, we managed to enter the airport and leave Afghanistan with US military planes.  There were about 400-500 people inside the US military planes, including women and children. 

The children were not well because there was not enough space and the children were not comfortable they were crying. we arrived in Arabia Saudia and stayed there for one night, the next January was Spain and again we were supposed to be in US military Plains. Finally, we got to Washington, D.C., and from there U.S. military, send us to Wisconsin’s McCoy campus. Fort Mccoy is a huge campus that contains around 13 thousand refugees. In here most of the people are complaining about the food, clothing, and other stuff but, they are not the elements that we have to worry about them or argue.

For me, they are really basic matters I have big dreams and don’t think that I am that much small to argue about basic stuff. I have the dream of working, helping, and taking care of a lot of needy people, and for accomplishing my missions I have to be very patient and struggle in tough conditions. It is clear for all the world that, Afghan girls and women are much stronger than the other people’s imaginations and we all are going to stand for our rights and show for whole the world that, there is nothing impossible for Afghan women and no one can stop us.!