Free World - September 15, 2021

Fourteen-year-old Maryam Mohammadi and her 3-year-old sister, Mehrsa, had been t…


Fourteen-year-old Maryam Mohammadi and her 3-year-old sister, Mehrsa, had been trying for days last month to get into the airfield at Kabul airport, part of a group that had been cleared to fly out of the Taliban-controlled Afghan capital.⁠⁠
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The sisters and their grandmother, pictured in the second photo, planned to first head to Ukraine and then hoped to join the girls’ parents in the U.S. But the chaos outside the airport was too great, and the group was forced to retreat.⁠⁠
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As the Taliban swept to power in a matter of weeks in August, Afghans with ties to the U.S. looked for ways to escape. For years, the girls’ mother, Marzia Sharifi, worked as the director of a U.S. Agency for International Development project for women and young people in the western Afghan city of Herat, where her daughters lived. Sharifi’s work had made her and her family targets of the Taliban, and now she was caught on the opposite side of the world from her daughters.⁠⁠
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When Taliban officials eventually showed up at the family home, Maryam, Mehrsa and their grandmother went into hiding, spending days huddled in dank basements. The family decided that the girls and their grandmother should try to make their way to capital 400 miles away.⁠⁠
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When they finally arrived at the Kabul airport, the women were turned away numerous times before eventually boarding a Ukrainian plane bound for Kyiv, where they reunited with their mother, pictured in the third photo.⁠⁠
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At the link in our bio, read more about the young sisters’ perilous escape.⁠⁠
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📷: @renaeffendiphoto for @wsjphotos



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