Afghan man attacked by Taliban for taking photos flees country to live in Southend

Amir said he spent his time "busy with my camera" which he described as his "friend". Credit: Amir Hussain Ibrahimi

A photographer from Afghanistan who claims he was attacked by the Taliban for taking pictures has described how he fled the country to live in Southend.

Amir Hussain Ibrahimi, 23, was born and raised in the country, and worked there as a photographer.

He said he spent his time "busy with my camera" which he described as his "friend".

He was working on documentaries about Afghanistan to tell people about the history of his country and its culture. However, it was his passion for photography that ultimately forced him to leave his motherland and his family, suddenly.

The Taliban regained controlled of Afghanistan in 2021 and, because of Amir's job, he felt his life was in danger.

Amir explained: "The camera is our gun. They are just trying to kill but we are not killing, we are recording.

"That's why they're scared, scared of our cameras, my cameras because I was clicking and with that one shutter I can record lots of things.

"That's the reason I am here today because I was trying to record their bad behaviour with the people."

One day Amir was taking pictures of the Taliban on his camera - the day that changed his life.

He said: "I was taking my photos and they told me 'come here'.

"I tried to run and tried to change the chip because I just need my documents, contents to have and I keep them because I spend lots of time with them. They tell me give me your camera let's go."

Amir was taken to a police station and questioned about why he was taking the pictures. He said he was beaten up by the Taliban.

"I wasn't able to meet my family after that I came directly to the airport," Amir added.

Amir arrived in the UK 16 months ago having escaped.

Speaking about his arrival, he said: "This place is green, there's water, there's sea.

"There's lots of nice culture, different cars, nice weather. But I was very tired because for seven days I didn't have the chance to sleep, I didn't have food to eat."

He's now living in a hotel in Southend, however, life for his parents, sister and brother in law could not be further from his.

  • Amir explains what it's been like without his family in the UK

He explained his sister and mother are not allowed to go outside anymore in fear of the Taliban.

He added: "Since I arrived here I can't sleep well. I'm always thinking about them. I'm trying to bring them here.

"They are not in a good situation and because they are not in a good situation, they are part of my body, they are my family, I'm not in a good situation as well. I always think about them and what will happen."

Amir's life and journey is one that he's writing down in the hopes of one day publishing a book.