On August 23, Sayed Hussaini closed the door to his apartment in Kabul, actually as always. He turns the key, puts it in his pocket, he tells us later, but that afternoon gets into a taxi with his wife and two children to drive about three miles to the airport and never come back. On the way they pass checkpoints. The Taliban now control the city and search cars. “We wanted out as fast as we could,” says Hussaini. You make it to an entrance gate at the airport, get out, and into the middle of the chaos.
Sayed Hussaini tells his story almost four weeks later. It is a summer day in September in Bamberg. The slim man in the blue shirt is one of 98 people that Bavaria took in from Afghanistan at the end of August. Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann had boasted at a press conference that the world public was looking at the Kabul airport and the people who all wanted to get out.
In Bamberg, Sayed Hussaini steps through a turnstile, behind him the so-called anchor center, in which he lives with his family for the time being, and in front of him – yes, what actually? He is now 27 years old and wants to start over.
While taking a walk, he reports on his evacuation. Hundreds are waiting at the airport gate. “I stood there with my daughter, my wife with our son,” he says. “There weren’t any queues we could stand in, it was just a crowd, some were squashed. The Taliban shot in the air and beat people. And the German soldiers, my comrades, were maybe 300 meters away from us.” They are not admitted. They wait almost 24 hours, uncertain whether they will make it out.
Those were the days when pictures of people hanging on airplane wings went around the world. A man, says Hussaini, came to the gate three times, but was repeatedly sent away because he was not allowed to leave the country. The Hussainis were entitled.
Sayed Hussaini was a German teacher for the Afghan army in Kabul and a so-called local employee of the Germans. As the Taliban conquered more and more parts of the country in August, the threat grew closer to him and his family. Anyone who works with foreigners is at least suspicious, if not a traitor. The redeeming call from the German embassy that they could come to the airport now came on that August 23rd. A little later, the Hussainis had packed some change of clothes, in extra inconspicuous little rucksacks, and drove off. His wife was about to finish her medical degree, says Hussaini.
The family would now like to go to NRW. A German comrade lives there, says Hussaini. He wants to do an apprenticeship. Still a. He completed an officer training course with the Bundeswehr for four years. When he was 18, he was in Germany for this, and then, back in Afghanistan, taught prospective soldiers in German, always in close contact with the Bundeswehr. Although he knew that the Taliban could be dangerous, he never dreamed that he would come back under these circumstances.
The family finally makes it into a military aircraft of the Bundeswehr. With hundreds of others, they would have squeezed into an A 400 M as far as Tashkent in Uzbekistan, says Hussaini. The machine is actually intended for transport. A lot gushes out of him while walking, at some point he was disappointed with President Ashraf Ghani, he just ran away. In Tashkent, the people are distributed on two airliners. For the Hussainis it goes to Frankfurt and then with a bus to Bamberg to the anchor center.
A spokesman for the government of Upper Franconia will later explain that the Bamberg center was in the best organizational location for the reception. The federal government maintains branch offices of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in the anchor centers. The 98 Afghans were distributed to Bavaria according to the Königstein key. It is currently being checked whether all of the local staff really are. They have privileges, unlike refugees who go through the usual asylum procedure. That is why there is currently criticism that all refugees should be offered similarly good structures. Local workers only live temporarily in collective accommodation, are allowed to move around freely, receive support from the job center and can look for work and an apartment.
Less than 30 kilometers from Bamberg, Ahmadzai, 31, is already building his new life. He does not want to be mentioned by his full name because he was threatened in Afghanistan and still has brothers there who he worries about. They too had worked for foreign workers, but they hadn’t made it out. Because of such cases, the Bavarian Refugee Council has again called for local workers and their relatives who have stayed behind to be flown out immediately. Ahmadzai recently visited apartments in Forchheim, and a Caritas employee helped him find offers. That he speaks English helps, says Ahmadzai in a Caritas office. He translated for Belgians, Dutch, Americans and, above all, the German Armed Forces from local languages such as Pashto, Persian and Urdu into English, and worked alongside them as a cultural advisor in villages. At some point when he was out and about privately, fighters on motorcycles approached him. They wanted internals about the foreigners and that he switch sides. “They called me by name, they knew that I had a family, but I didn’t know these people.”
His departure was more orderly than that of the Hussainis and took place on July 16. The Bundeswehr, with whom he had an employment contract, had approached him: political developments put his life in danger. After arriving in Munich, he didn’t know where to go at first, “We don’t have trains in Afghanistan”. But he made it to a hotel in Forchheim with his wife and two children until they moved to a state home nearby. He received a small entry fee from Caritas. With everything that lies ahead of him now, says Ahmadzai, he is “happy to be safe” for the time being.