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‘We had been continuously monitored,’ says nun who escaped Afghanistan

Sister Shahnaz Bhatti was on the final evacuation flight to Italy.(Photograph: Assist to the Church in Want)

A nun who escaped Afghanistan within the final airlift to Italy earlier than the Taliban takeover has spoken of the concern she skilled in her last days within the nation.

Sister Shahnaz Bhatti, initially from Pakistan, had been in Kabul since 2019 the place she had been instructing kids aged six to 10 residing with Down’s syndrome and different studying disabilities.

When the Taliban began taking on the town, she says they had been pressured to cover away of their constructing. 

“It was a really troublesome time – we locked ourselves in the home as we had been afraid,” she informed Assist to the Church in Want (ACN).

“For greater than a yr, there had been solely two of us. As quickly because it was attainable, the spiritual sister who had been with me left after which I used to be alone till the tip.”

She described a few of the challenges she had skilled in Afghanistan as a nun. 

“The Afghans contemplate all foreigners from the West to be Christians. We had been continuously being monitored and weren’t permitted to show any spiritual symbols,” she stated.

“We spiritual sisters needed to dress ourselves just like the native ladies, with out the cross that symbolises who we’re.”

For Sister Bhatti, “probably the most making an attempt factor” was not with the ability to transfer about freely due to the requirement that girls be accompanied by a person in public. 

“However the struggling that made the best impression on me was once I noticed ladies being handled as issues. It was indescribably painful to see a younger lady, pressured in opposition to her will, to marry the person that the top of the household had chosen to be her husband,” she stated. 

Along with the close by Missionaries of Charity and the disabled kids that had been underneath their care, she was capable of get onto the final evacuation flight to Italy. 

“If the youngsters had not been rescued, we might not have left,” she stated. 

The kids at the moment are being hosted by spiritual congregations in Italy, though Sister Bhatti fears their households again in Afghanistan are in nice hazard.

She added, “The journey to Kabul airport was arduous, it took us two hours and there was capturing, however ultimately we made it.”

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