Afghans Killed in Kabul Airport Bombing Were Seeking New Lives Abroad

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Mohammed Jan Sultani had clutched his nationalist Taekwondo title certificates arsenic helium waded done the multitudes pushing to get into Kabul airdrome precocious past week.

The 25-year-old jock wasn't connected immoderate evacuation lists. Yet helium had hoped his achievements would marque him and his young household peculiar capable to beryllium fto into the gross and onto 1 of the flights rescuing foreigners and Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

As helium forged ahead, an Islamic State termination bomber detonated 2 twelve pounds of explosives successful the crowd conscionable earlier nightfall Thursday, sidesplitting 169 Afghans, including Sultani, and 13 U.S. work members.

Sultani's woman and 2 children, 4-year-old Zahid and 2-year-old Zahra, survived; helium had told them to enactment backmost a spot arsenic helium precocious toward the gate.

Three days later, Zahid remains successful shock. He cries, but doesn't speak.

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The athlete's father, Ali, said his lad had expected a bleak aboriginal nether the Taliban.

“He didn't cognize wherever helium would go,” the bereaved man, who goes by the past sanction Rahmani, said Sunday. “The United States, Europe, it didn’t matter," Rahmani said, holding immoderate of his son's medals, his dependable laced with sadness.

“Everyone successful the state seemed to beryllium escaping,” helium said.

Najma Sadeqi was besides among those trying to get retired that afternoon. The 20-year-old, who was successful her past semester successful journalism school, feared the Taliban’s instrumentality to powerfulness would bring a harsh mentation of Islamic regularisation successful which women would mostly beryllium confined to their homes.

Getting done those airdrome gates held the committedness of vocation determination else, acold distant from each the threats and judgement.

Thursday's blast killed Najma, arsenic good arsenic her member and a relative who had escorted her to the airdrome to guarantee her safety.

Najma had gotten her commencement successful journalism with a YouTube transmission a fewer years backmost and yet went to enactment for a mates of backstage broadcasters, said her older sister, Freshta.

In the 2 decades since the U.S.-led penetration drove the Taliban from power, women person made gains successful education, authorities and concern — but it hasn't been easy. Afghanistan remains a profoundly blimpish country, particularly extracurricular municipality areas. Many of Najma's ain relatives objected to her nascent career, with immoderate adjacent cutting disconnected contact.

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario was awarded a Pulitzer for her enactment connected the New York Times' Afghanistan sum successful 2009. Now with the Taliban taking over, she's calling successful immoderate favors to assistance her erstwhile subjects retired of the state - but it's getting difficult, arsenic the way to the Kabul airdrome gets much dangerous.

Freshta said her sister received threatening telephone calls and substance messages from chartless men who objected to her appearing successful public.

“I was the lone 1 she told astir her information concerns," Freshta said. "She didn’t privation to stock it with the household due to the fact that they mightiness forestall her from moving with media.”

But arsenic the Taliban rapidly advanced, capturing astir of the state successful a substance of days and rolling into the superior earlier this month, Najma decided to articulation the exodus, fearing that the takeover would spell the extremity of a vocation that was lone conscionable beginning. She compiled the threatening substance messages and brought them to the airport, hoping they would assistance her person the Americans to enactment her connected a plane.

Najma planned to restart her YouTube transmission from her caller location — wherever that mightiness beryllium — and papers the lives of Afghan migrants, Freshta said. “She dreamed of gathering a vocation successful media contempt the challenges she faced."

Najma and tens of thousands of others extracurricular the airdrome gross person not been swayed by Taliban promises to let women successful nationalist beingness and girls to be schools.

Ali Reza Ahmadi, a 34-year-old who had worked arsenic a writer for astir a decade, was truthful hopeless to get retired that helium went to the airdrome conscionable months aft getting engaged. He and his younger brother, who had hoped to question with him, were some killed, according to Khadim Karimi, a adjacent person and colleague.

He said Ahmadi was already struggling with slump and fiscal problems earlier the Taliban swept in. “He was truthful distraught, truthful helium decided to spell to the airdrome and enactment determination until helium could get an airlift from immoderate state would instrumentality him,” Karimi said.

President Joe Biden and archetypal woman Jill Biden met with families of the 13 troops killed successful Kabul for their dignified transportation astatine Dover Air Force Base.

Faiez reported from Istanbul.

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