For Afghan refugees in India, hopes dim for returning home

International

Refugee and former Afghan policewoman Khatera Hashmi sits inside a rented accommodation in New Delhi, India on Aug. 13, 2021. When the Taliban shot policewoman Khatira Hashmi and gouged out her eyes, she knew Afghanistan was no longer safe. Along with her husband, she fled to India last year. She was shot multiple times on her way home from work last October in the capital of Ghazni province, south of Kabul. As she slumped over, one of the attackers grabbed her by the hair, pulled a knife and gouged out her eyes. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

NEW DELHI (AP) — When the Taliban shot policewoman Khatira Hashmi and gouged out her eyes, she knew Afghanistan was no longer safe.

Along with her husband, she fled to India last year.

Akbar Farhad, an artist, has been living in New Delhi since 2018. He left Kabul after facing threats from insurgents demanding he close his studio.

Like thousands of other Afghan refugees in India, their plans to someday return home have been dashed by the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.

Some refugees struggle to put food on the table. Others are trapped in a complex bureaucratic process to register as refugees.

What many thought would be a short, temporary escape has turned into a long-lasting exile.

Hashmi’s husband says, “My wife gave her eyes for her country. But nobody helped us.”

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