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Disabled mother goes missing in Afghanistan

Fereba Hafizi with her mother Layloma
Fereba Hafizi with her mother Layloma Image credit: itv.com

A disabled mother was knocked unconscious trying to flee Afghanistan on Wednesday morning.

Her daughter, fashion photographer Fereba Hafizi from Coventry, said she has been “traumatised” by the news.

British and Afghan citizen Layloma Hafizi travelled to Afghanistan with her son, Asad, to attend a family funeral but had problems booking a return flight when the country was put on England’s red list because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

After being pushed over in a crowd of people on the way to catch a flight home Layloma, who has a number of health conditions, was carried by her nephew to a pickup point at a Kabul hotel where she was escorted inside in a wheelchair.

Since then Fereba has heard nothing about her mother.

Ms Hafizi, 29, told ITV News on Tuesday: "My mum who's disabled, she's sick, she's on her own, going through this. She doesn't deserve this."

The plan was for Asad to fly back to Britain with his mother, but due to a separate family concern Layloma will now have to travel home by herself.

“[My cousin] was assisting my mother… without his support and pushing people aside from her path it would not have been possible for her to even make it to the gate of the hotel,” Ms Hafizi said.

“He put her on his back and dragged himself through the last line of crowds.

“The consulate staff and the guards assisted them inside, but they immediately discharged my cousin as he did not have a foreign passport.

“I have lost all contact with her and I have absolutely no idea if she has recovered, or if the aircraft has departed or not.”

The distressed daughter has an added concern, she is unaware if her mother went to the airport with her vital medication.

Ms Hafizi said her mother “requires a wheelchair system when she travels, she’s diabetic, she’s got high cholesterol and arthritis

Layloma has suffered two strokes in the past and is on a waiting list for surgery.

Ms Hafizi continued: “I’m not able to get into any form of contact with my mother about her wellbeing. I’m worried and anxious about what is happening to her.

“All these uncertainties are draining me and making me feel traumatised.

“With all these medical conditions, she’s actually not fit to be travelling on her own.”

The daughter said her cousin is about to be granted his visa, but the closure of the Kabul embassy has delayed the process.

“His father has passed away. He is currently the sole breadwinner of his family,” she added.

“He has been working for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Unfortunately, with the current crises in Afghanistan, these individuals whom have been assisting and giving refuge to isolated women are on the Taliban’s target list.”

The U.S. has spent between $2 trillion and $3 trillion on the war in Afghanistan.