The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul forced thousands to flee — the Hussainy family are among the lucky ones

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The Hussainy family, pictured outside their home in Adelaide’s north, was able to make it out of Afghanistan. (ABC News: Sarah Mullins)

It has been almost five months since the world watched in horror as thousands of Afghans attempted to flee their homeland when the Taliban took over.

People clung to planes as they took off at Kabul international airport, desperate to escape as chaos enveloped the city.

Amongst the crowd gathered there was the Hussainy family.

Ismail Hussainy worked for the Australian embassy in Kabul as an interpreter and security guard for seven years.

But that meant he and his family’s lives were at risk when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August last year.

When the family received an email from the Australian government accepting their application for a humanitarian visa, they raced to the airport.

On the way, Mr Hussainy stopped at an ATM to take out his life savings — but, he said, the bank turned him away and said it was out of cash.

“By the time I arrived at the airport there were more than 50,000 people, a big crowd there,” he said.

“We spent three nights around the airport, we slept on the dirt.”

The family finally arrived in Australia on September 1 and carried out two weeks of hotel quarantine in Adelaide.

Their extended family had to stay behind, living in fear of retaliation from the Taliban.

Mr Hussainy said the Taliban wanted to punish family members who remained in Afghanistan and said his relatives had already received threats.

“If you were there and the Taliban is searching for the family that was working with the foreign forces, they will find them and kill them, and for no reason,” he said.

They have now settled in a small home in Adelaide’s north and are finally restoring a semblance of normality to their lives.

But in the mad rush to escape Kabul, they were unable to bring any of their belongings.

“In the crowd, there was no way for you to bring stuff with you because you were not able to walk,” he said.

“We had nothing — we didn’t bring anything with us.

“We had a house, we had a car, we had money.”

Almost everything the family now owns was donated to them.

One of the not-for-profit organisations that helped the Hussainy family start their new life is Treasure Boxes.

The organisation provides essential goods for vulnerable families and has supported hundreds of Afghan arrivals since humanitarian rescue flights began landing in Adelaide last year.

Treasure Boxes chief Rikki Cooke said the relief effort for the Afghan arrivals has been huge.

“It has been a really lovely experience to be able to support them in that next journey here in Australia,” she said.

“Initially, that crisis support was really crucial to them arriving and feeling comfortable and really looking after those children’s basic needs.

“A lot of them are still struggling with visas and families that have been left behind, and that’s heartbreaking.

“We can’t do anything about that, but we can ensure we support them as best we can here.”

Focusing on the future now, the Hussainy family have big plans for 2022.

The children will start school in a few weeks, while their mother plans to study English at TAFE.

Mr Hussainy said it was his dream to one day become a pharmacist.

“A life without a plan is nothing, so you have to have a plan at least,” he said.

“We are alive; we are happy that we are here.

“We can start working here … Australia is the land of opportunity.”

Video: Aid groups get leeway to help Afghanistan crisis (ABC News)

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