Northampton businessman who escaped Taliban 20 years ago fears for his family

The rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan has shocked many people around the world, but for one businessman in Northampton, it's struck even closer to home.

Obaidellah Khushall had to flee his birthplace of Afghanistan in 1999 when the Taliban ruled the country. 

He now fears his father-in-law, a Chief of Police for one of the border areas, may end up being killed.

Obaidellah Khushall's father in Law Credit: Obaidellah Khushall

The Taliban emerged in the south of Afghanistan in 1994. After the Soviet’s withdrawal the country was left in chaos, many groups formed to try and gain power across the country. 

Within two years the once unknown group had conquered most of Afghanistan, declared an Islamic emirate and a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.  

Known for their extreme ultraconservative views, severe restrictions were placed on women’s rights - what they wear, how they act and who they are. People could be stoned, amputated or killed publicly for breaking any rules. 

For Khushall, and so many others in Afghanistan, his life started to change. His father, a corporal in the army, was killed. His freedoms, gone. His university, shut down. 

Obaidellah Khushall's dad was in the army Credit: Obaidellah Khushall

Forced to run for his life, He was smuggled across Iran, Russia and Europe - often going days without eating - before arriving in Britain and successfully claiming asylum.

Others had no choice but to stay in the country. His father-in-law is currently in hiding due to his high ranking police role and after fighting the Taliban in the past. 

For him, watching history repeat itself, has brought many memories flooding back. Now he hopes others will get the same opportunity as he did two decades ago.