Afghan star Aryana Sayeed talks about a tragic escape from Kabul


An Afghan singer who used her international fame to amplify the call for women’s rights wore an all-encompassing veil to escape her hometown when the Taliban occupied Kabul. ..

Aryana Sayeed divides time between Turkey, England and Afghanistan and has been in Kabul for the past few months to start a clothing business. She told Reuters in a weekend interview that she had received a call warning that the Taliban were approaching the capital. When the Taliban last came to power from 1996 to 2001, they brutally forced a Sunni Islamic interpretation banning women’s work and school.

Sayeed and her fiancé Hasib Sayed booked a commercial flight scheduled for August 15 when the Taliban entered Kabul months after US troops ended US involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

Saeed said a crowded commercial flight never took off at a hotel in the Washington area, explaining the panic airport scene interrupted by the sound of shootings.

She and Saeed left the airport and evacuated with their relatives in Kabul for fear of being recognized by Taliban fighters. The next day, they heard the Taliban troops making door-to-door canvassing in the neighborhood. Sayeed went to the airport again, wore a veil that only she could see, and traveled with Sayed’s young cousin like a family outing.

“We passed five Taliban checkpoints, one of which stopped our car,” Saeed said. “The moment he saw me and the little boy, he said,’Go.’ “

Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed leaves Kabul
Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed jumped out of Kabul with this photo posted to her Instagram account @aryanasayeedofficial a week ago. (Courtesy of aryanasayeedofficial / via Reuters)

Sayyid first arrived at a US military-controlled airport in another car. Mr. Saeed was recognized by Afghans at the airport and told US officials: “This is the fiancée of a very famous singer in Afghanistan. Put him in as they catch him and kill him.”

Sayyid, a Canadian citizen, was granted permission and contacted Sayyid. His relatives took her to the airport. The two flew to a U.S. military aircraft on early August 17, and first landed in Doha, Qatar. They arrived in the United States on August 19th. The couple were scheduled to leave for Istanbul via Amsterdam on Tuesday.

“I was lucky enough to leave Afghanistan, but what about the rest of the people there?” British citizen Saeed told Reuters. She wore a T-shirt with the American flag on the sleeves given in Doha. She left Kabul with only the clothes she wore that night.

Since she left Kabul, some of her 1.4 million Instagram followers have hoped she’ll get well.

The Taliban statement created uncertainty about whether Afghan women could work, study and choose their outfits. Women have been forced to work as the Taliban have swept Afghanistan in recent weeks. Sayeed called on the international community to remember Afghanistan, especially women and children.

“In the last 20 years, so many girls and so many women have been attended and educated. Many of them are school teachers, doctors … so many achievements,” Saeed said. I did. “How can I get it all done that way?”

Greg Savoy and Maddy Nzanga