Leamington woman writes desperate letter to Boris Johnson as the Taliban hunts and threatens to execute her mother
and live on Freeview channel 276
Originally from Afghanistan, Shabnam Nishat, 36, lives with her husband, Rostam, and their four young children in Whitnash after moving to the UK in 2007.
Her father died earlier this month and she hasn’t heard from her mother, brother or sister since the Taliban stormed their home while they were at the hospital on November 8.
She appealed to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for an extension to the resettlement scheme, increased aid, and a resumption of evacuation flights.
Ms Nishat’s mother, who cannot be named in the interests of her safety, was a regional politician who fought against the Taliban and advocated for women’s rights – working with the UN and other international charities.
Her work in politics has made her a target for Taliban Islamists who unexpectedly stormed to power after the UK and US military withdrawal.
They have now been in control of Afghanistan for more than 100 days.
Ms Nishat says she lives in constant fear her family has been killed and hopes her children will be able to see their grandmother again.
As we reported, militants have already threatened to kill her mother during a phone call.
Her family was one of 25 that approached Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western for assistance with evacuating their stranded relatives before the last UK troops withdrew from Afghanistan in late August.
Mr Western has slammed the government’s response which saw an estimated 7,000 people being supported by British MPs stranded in Kabul.
He has sent Ms Nishat’s letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and is demanding action to help those who remain in Afghanistan.
An extract from the letter reads: “My mother is being hunted by the Taliban. I do not know whether she is alive.
“My beloved father suffered a severe heart attack and died last week.
“I haven’t had the strength to grieve him yet.
“He left my mother, my brother, and my sister alone in hiding – as the Taliban searches for them.
“They have no mercy. My family is in danger.
“I regret the negligence of your government and its failure to get my family to safety – along with thousands of others.
“I regret the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, which has covered my country in darkness.
“The Taliban is looking for women who used to work in the government.
“Last week, four female politicians like my mother were killed.
“I do not know why you are silent. Your Government deserted my country and left it for the Taliban – ruining any progress that was made before.
“The UK and the western powers have left Afghanistan in a worse position than when they intervened.
“Please open your heart to people like my mother who fought for a better Afghanistan for all.
“I don’t know how you sleep at night knowing you played a part in the creation of this nightmare.
“Please do something. Help my mother. Help the Afghan people.”
Ms Nishat is a student at Warwickshire College and now works as a midday supervisor at Briar Hill Infant School.
Mr Western echoed her calls, telling the Prime Minister, "If you are sincere when you say you want to assist the people of Afghanistan, you can take the following actions immediately.
"Open the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme immediately and expand its parameters to more than the meagre 20,000 refugees to which it will grant asylum;.
"Expand the UK’s aid offering to Afghanistan where there is a humanitarian disaster brewing as winter approaches and rates of starvation increase.
"Send more evacuation flights or assist those states which do and bring more refugees to safety.
“This issue has hurt me more than many in my time as an MP and the pain Shabnam is going through is unbearable for her."
The UK and the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 at the outset of the ‘War on Terror,’ triggered by the 9/11 attacks.
After 20 years and amid international criticism, both nations withdrew their troops leaving Taliban fighters to overwhelm the Afghan army and seize control – despite 18 months of preparations, and assurances the Taliban posed little threat.
Boris Johnson's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigel Casey, has recently visited Islamabad and Karachi and held meetings with the Chief of Army Staff , National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, and Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Muhammad Sadiq to cover matters related to Afghanistan.
Mr Casey said: "I am grateful to Pakistan for support to our efforts to evacuate at-risk Afghans affiliated to the UK from Afghanistan.
"The UK is committed to doing everything it can to ensure stability in Afghanistan, and our policy is one of pragmatic engagement.
"We will continue to work together with Pakistan on matters of shared concern, including providing humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a place where terrorism flourishes."
The Government says it has doubled its humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan, "which will provide urgent life-saving assistance to millions of people suffering from the conflict, drought and COVID-19".
A Government spokeman added: "This takes the total UK aid to Afghanistan this year to £286 million and means the UK’s total aid contribution to the country since 2001 is now around £3.5 billion.