Afghan medical student starts over in France

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The 15th of August marks the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. FRANCE 24 has been talking to refugees who have fled the country. In episode four of our series of special reports, we meet Fatemeh Abdali, whose medical studies were interrupted when the Taliban took over Kabul. She is now starting over by learning French so that she can one day return to medical school. 

When the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, 2021, 23-year old medical student Fatemeh Abdali’s studies came to a sudden halt. She had arrived at her university to take an exam that day, but was sent home. She was able to get out of Afghanistan within days with help from her sister, who was already living in France. Fatemeh is now taking classes with the French immigration and integration office, getting her French up to scratch so that she can continue her studies.

Many other female students also fled to France. One of them is Soraya Karimi, who represented her country in handball. After the capital fell, she and her teammates received a letter warning that they would face harsh punishment in accordance with Sharia law if they continued to play, so she left. 

Soraya appears to speak for Fatemeh as well as the rest of their friends when she tells FRANCE 24: “I hope that by being here, we can speak up for the women who stayed in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and make their voices heard all over the world.”

Fatemeh concludes by saying that she hopes to return to her country some day when it is free of Taliban rule as a qualified doctor, fluent in French. 

Click on the player above to watch our special report.

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