She fled to Canada after her Taliban-linked husband shot her in the face. Now her family needs protection – .

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She fled to Canada after her Taliban-linked husband shot her in the face. Now her family needs protection – .


Shakila Zareen has not had an easy life.
The 25-year-old was 16 when her brother-in-law forced her to marry a man several years her senior. She was beaten and raped – abuse, she says, that began on her wedding night and continued for months.

In 2013, when she complained to the Afghan police, her husband discovered her and shot her in the face. He spent four months in prison.

In 2018, she arrived in Canada as a refugee.

Even so, Zareen says the helplessness she feels now as much of her family is stuck in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is worse.

She begs the Canadian government to help her, both for her family and for other Afghans who are hiding in her home country.

“All my speeches against the Taliban, my condemnation of the Taliban have made them public [her family] in great danger right now, ”Zareen said.

“I tremble every day, every moment, fearing that the Taliban will capture my family members and kill them. “

Zareen is one of many Afghans in Canada to ask for help while anxiously watching the crisis in Afghanistan worsen.

On Thursday, the Canadian government announced the end of its airlift mission in Afghanistan. Zareen hopes he will reconsider his decision because thousands of people, including his family, have been left behind.

Less than four months after President Biden announced the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban swept through the country, ultimately capturing the capital Kabul as Afghan government officials fled the country.

Also Thursday, two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul airport. At least 60 Afghans and 12 US soldiers have been killed, US officials say. The Pentagon said the explosion at the airport was the result of a complex attack.

Shakila Zareen was taken to Canada after being hit in the face by her husband in Afghanistan. The United States initially welcomed it, but overturned the decision after US President Donald Trump took office, citing “security” reasons. (Tina Lovgreen / CBC)

Fear and helplessness

After relentless death threats as she recovered from her gunshot wounds, Zareen turned to other countries for help. The United States and Sweden rejected his request, but Canada agreed.

She moved to Vancouver with her mother and sister, but three of her siblings, along with her extended family, still live in Afghanistan.

“I tremble every day, every moment, fearing that the Taliban will capture my family members and kill them. “

Zareen has been a strong advocate for women’s and human rights and a harsh critic of the Taliban regime. She has over 30,000 followers on TikTok and says she is terrified that her advocacy has put a target on her family.

In addition, his brother served in the Afghan National Army. Zareen says he has already received a message from the Taliban saying, “If we catch you, we will kill you.”

Helplessness is overwhelming, she says, both to herself and to her mother.

“We can’t even sleep at night. We can’t even relax or stay calm. “

A cry for help

Following the crisis in Afghanistan, Canada announced that it would resettle up to 20,000 Afghan nationals.

Zareen’s family applied, but they say they haven’t received a response.

” Nobody answered. Right now the solution is to put my family in a safe place, ”she said.

Shakila Zareen has had numerous surgeries since being shot in the face. (Tina Lovgreen / CBC)

On Thursday, Canada’s airlift mission ended.

The Ministry of National Defense said it was able to evacuate more than 3,700 people from Kabul. We do not know how many Canadians and how many people who have applied to come to Canada remain stranded. Officials say they have received requests representing 8,000 people and that two-thirds of the requests have been completed.

Along with his family, there are many other Afghans in Afghanistan who still need foreign aid.

“There are so many good Afghan citizens who have done a wonderful job in the city who are human rights defenders. They offered gender equality. They all need to be rescued.

Moving to Canada gave Zareen new life. She argues that the same opportunity can be offered to others.

“I never complained, but now I am begging the Canadian government, including the Prime Minister, to support my family, to help my family,” she said.

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