This week marks the second anniversary of the evacuation of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul.

People who have come to Scotland have shared their stories of seeking sanctuary and making new lives thousands of miles from home.

Abdullah’s* story

Abdullah came to the UK last year with his wife and children after a long process of attempting to flee the Taliban.

“While my visa was being processed – shots were fired at my car – it was a warning from the Taliban. Luckily no one was injured. The Taliban went to my home and told my father: ‘Your son was safe from the shards of the gunshots, the next time he will not be safe. You should bring him to us.’

“When we first got to Scotland we had many problems – financial issues, language barriers, course fees. We had to try and borrow money from family and friends.

“My degree is not just a degree, it’s my dream, my future”

“When we claimed asylum, we really didn’t know what to do. We received advice and support from the British Red Cross and the Scottish Refugee Council. I will never forget their help. They guided me on where to go, what my rights were and what help I could access.

Abdullah is now studying towards a university degree: “My degree is not just a degree, it’s my dream, my future.”

“This is the only year I have been jobless since I was 16.

“I want a work permit. I want to take responsibility. I don’t need financial support from the UK, I want to earn money and support my family on my own.

“The education system in Afghanistan is broken. It is very difficult for women – girls are not allowed to go to school. It gives me happiness for my wife and children to be in education. I want us to be an educated family.

“I want us to be an educated family”

“14 years ago my father was a refugee and came to the UK from Afghanistan. Now my family and I have been forced to do the same thing. I do not want my children to be in the same position when they are older.”

Fazal’s* story

Fazal has now been in Scotland for nearly two years after fleeing the Taliban with his family. He is a musician and is deeply passionate about traditional Afghan music.

“Most of my colleagues were killed by the Taliban. We were forced to leave.”

“I feel very safe here.”

“I would love to play the National music of Afghanistan. I play the harmonium and would like to play a concert sharing our music. It is very different to the music here. I think many people do not understand. It is very different to Western pop music. I would love to share it with people.”

Fazal plans to study towards becoming a driving instructor.

Amir’s* story

Amir and his family have now been in Scotland for two years.

“Scotland is a great place… but it has cloudy weather.

“I go to a cooking school that teaches us how to make Scottish foods. It teaches us how to cook, how to make soup and bake cakes. There are no lectures, just fun. It is nice to have Afghan men coming together. We will all be cooking, laughing, joining in. It is a joy.”


*Names have been changed to protect contributors


Read more about our work helping Afghan communities.

Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage