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From Kabul to Kitchener: local man claiming to be on the run from Taliban and asking for help getting home

Wasai Rahimi says he went to Afghanistan to help set up more services and supports for women
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File photo from The Canadian Press

A local man trapped in Afghanistan is pleading for help getting from Kabul back home to Kitchener.

Wasai Rahimi says he originally went to the Afghan capital as part of a team looking to set up new supports and services for women.

Rahimi says the work was going well until the Taliban swept back into power.

"Of course there is lots of stress and lots of fear, not only for myself, but for those people who worked with me, who are supporting me, my family, my brother, sisters, and my staff," said Rahimi, president of the Afghan Association of Waterloo Region and executive director of iHELP International.

Since then, Rahimi says he's been trying to find help getting out of the country and back to Canada but says those efforts have so far not been successful.

"I even went to the airport at least to see a Canadian soldier or an official or someone who I could at least tell I'm a Canadian and I need help here but I didn't find anyone," Rahimi said.

That day, the same day a suicide bomber killed dozens of people including 13 U.S. service members while injuring at least 140 others.

"I was just about 10 metres from that explosion," said Rahimi. "All my clothes were full of blood."

"Fortunately it was not blood from myself but, unfortunately, other people who were struck by the bomb blast."

Narrowly escaping the same fate, Rahimi says he's since been hunted by the Taliban.

"Where I used to live with my brother, one night, they came to their house, actually they surrounded the entire street," he said.

Rahimi says there was a knock at the door, his brother answered, and Taliban soldiers entered asking for him by name.

"They beat my brother very badly actually," Rahimi said. "He didn't say anything about my whereabouts and they also shouted at the children and his wife."

Rahimi says he moves from location to location every two or three days so neither his brother or his family knew where he was.

He is, meantime, continuing to search out and ask for help getting back home. Rahimi says media reports the Taliban have offered leniency to people who worked with the previous government or foreign organizations are lies.

"That is not the case," he said. "Unfortunately those people who were working in higher positions, especially with foreign organizations, they are living in a very vulnerable situation right now, they are all in danger."

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