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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
A refugee's story
ruined building in Kabul
Farid is alarmed by scenes of Afghanistan on television
Farid Ahmad, a 16-year-old pupil at Villiers High School in Southall, west London describes his life in Afghanistan, his journey to Britain and how he feels today

"My name's Farid Ahmad. I am from Afghanistan. It's a very beautiful country in the heart of Asia. It has very nice, peaceful, hospitable, brave, innocent, war-threatened and poor people.

"I am from Ningarhar, the border province of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We were living a peaceful life. Everyone was happy, everything was OK. Suddenly a plan was made by the Russians and they invaded our homeland.

"A war started, a holy war against the Russians. My father started fighting for his country as a pure Afghan.

"They fought with the Russians for more than 10 years and won. When the Russians left our country our leaders started fighting with each other for some purposes and some causes which had bad effects.

Farid Ahmad
"I do not know the whereabouts of my family and I miss them very much," says Farid
"I was a very small boy during this time. I was a kid who didn't know anything. We lost our father. My mother searched for my father. She asked many people, she had many problems, everything was destroyed, our lives were in danger, our future was destroyed because we lost our father.

"He was missing for a long time. Then some people told my mother that my father had been killed. This was the worst day in our family life.

"Then some people told us our father was alive. We waited for him but never heard anything from him anymore. My mother confirmed that our father had died. That was the darkest period in our history. We didn't have anyone to look after us.

"We were Muslims but not restricted Muslims, our family were social people. My parents wanted to give us a modern life and a modern future. They wanted us to study not only Islam but modern studies and much more.

"My brothers and sisters were studying but we still had feelings about our father because we never saw his live body or dead body.

Taliban

"Then the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, they stopped women from working, studying and having a normal life.

"Our problems became more and more. We didn't have anyone to give us something to make a living although we were from the Khan family.

"Khan in Afghanistan means landlords and people with much power, money and strength.

"At this time, I, my brothers and sisters were studying at school. We were studying English language courses and computer courses.


I spent many nights underground without any bed or blanket with very little food to survive on. I feared and worried for my life

Farid Ahmad
"My elder brother Nisar Ahmad left our beloved country and came to the UK because he didn't want to fight against our own Afghan brothers. My mother didn't want him to go on fighting.

"When I was 15, I was old enough to look after my family. But my mother was afraid and made arrangements for me to leave and join my brother.

"I remember the day when I left my family. I looked at my brothers and sisters and they could all see me crying because we didn't know when we would see each other again.

"I love my family, I love my country and my people with whom I could never fight. It's impossible to fire even one bullet towards my Afghan brothers even if they're wrong. That's why my mother wanted me to leave Afghanistan.

"On my way to the UK I faced hundreds of problems. I walked for several hours in deserts, mountain, in dark nights, in forests, rain, cold weather and hunger.

"I spent many nights underground without any bed or blanket with very little food to survive on. I feared and worried for my life. But I was not upset for myself because I am a man and a man never gives up. I think I was on my way for more than two months.

women and children fleeing Afghanistan
Many more refugees are trying to leave Afghanistan
"Now on TV I am watching my country and my people being attacked by the United States. My people are again facing a very big problem.

"Now I do not know the whereabouts of my family and I miss them very much.

"Some people say they're in Pakistan, others say they're in Iran or Afghanistan. I am here in the UK. I feel safe but I am not happy. I miss my brothers and sisters and my mother very much.

"I hate terrorism, killing of innocent people and shooting of human beings. I'll never do anything wrong according to humanitarian law.

"I want the world to hear my story because I want to tell them that Afghanistan is a very nice country with nice people and nice culture.

"Our people do not want to fight, they do not want to kill each other but I don't know what the causes are of the fighting.

"I don't know how one Afghan can kill another Afghan. Our religion doesn't tell us to kill any innocent human beings, it teaches us peace, love, freedom, justice and human rights.

"People in Afghanistan are very poor, they do not have shelter. Sometimes they only eat once a day or once every two days.

"I pray to my God to help Afghanistan, they are fed up of fighting, of all the problems and being refugees."

See also:

18 Oct 01 | Education
Refugee children speak out
15 Oct 01 | Education
Advice for schools on war
08 Oct 01 | Education
Today's assembly is about war
19 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Inside Afghanistan
28 Sep 01 | Education
A teacher's view of the camps
08 Oct 01 | Education
Head reassures Muslim pupils
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