'They are alone': Blind Afghan activist fears for disabled people living in homeland

Benafhsa has been telling reporter Tasha Kacheri what help is needed for those with disabilities in Afghanistan.

A leading Afghan activist living in Manchester has told ITV Granada Reports that she fears for the rights of disabled people living in her homeland.

Benafsha Yaqubi has been visually impaired since birth, but that has not stopped her from achieving her goals, helping others and working towards a PHD in Afghanistan.

She went on to work as a human rights commissioner, fighting for the rights of disabled people and women. 

But when the Taliban took over - as one of the most prominent disabled activists and a woman - Benafsha was forced to flee with her husband.

Now she is urging UK leaders to protect disabled Afghans who she believes are in danger.

Credit: PA

She said: "It was especially difficult for me as a woman and as a person with disability to work for human rights and to serve my people.

"I didn't choose - they urged me to leave the country. The situation and condition urged me to leave the country."

According to the Asia Foundation, it is thought as much as 80% of the population of Afghanistan have some form of disability.

In many cases, these are people left with severe injuries from landmines and bombs.

Benafsha still runs a charity in her homeland aiming to help people just like her. She says since arriving in the UK, she has had nightmares every night.

She said: "Here is a very nice country, calm country. But I'm not calm because of my people and my parents who are there. I don't know what will happen to them."

She said being disabled in Afghanistan is "more than difficult. We had laws to protect people but now they don't have anything. They are alone.

"We are trying to help children with disabilities, persons with disabilities and widows who are functional with disabilities.

"If they cannot have income what can they do? How can they be alive? We are trying to feed them, we are trying to encourage them to have small jobs."

Benafsha is urging the UK government to help others escape the war-torn country too.

Even though Benafsha is thousands of miles from Kabul she still feels the need to speak out about what is happening to disabled people in the country. 

"I'm here to serve my nation", she said, "I'm not here to enjoy and be safe. I came here to save my people because they have this expectation from me.

"They said 'don't leave us, please don't forget us' - and we will not forget them, although we are far from them, but they cannot take them out of our hearts. My heart is with them."