Daughter shares relief after her vulnerable mother lands back in the UK

The daughter of a medically vulnerable British national who was trapped in Afghanistan has shared her relief after her mother landed safely back in the UK.

Fereba Hafizi, a British fashion photographer from Coventry, has been campaigning to get her 79-year-old mother home from Afghanistan.

Layloma Hafizi, a dual British and Afghan citizen with a number of health conditions, originally went to Kabul a month ago for a family funeral.

While she was out there, the Taliban launched its takeover of Afghanistan, leaving Fereba and her siblings terrified for their mother’s safety.

Earlier this week, Layloma was knocked unconscious after being pushed over in a melee of people on her way to catch a flight with UK authorities on Wednesday morning.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Fereba Hafizi (left) with her mother Layloma (Fereba Hafizi/PA)

Fereba said she was unable to contact her mother for hours and was left traumatised waiting for news.

On Thursday, she received a call from a British-Afghan national, called Sayed, who began assisting her mother after their plane from Kabul landed in Dubai.

He said he came across her mother and offered to stick with her the whole time and help her out.

Sayed, who is from Newcastle, then gave an update on Friday morning saying they had landed at Birmingham airport but were now quarantining in a hotel near London Stansted as the hotels in Birmingham were fully booked.

Layloma, like other citizens being evacuated from Afghanistan, has to quarantine for 10 days as Afghanistan is on the UK’s coronavirus red list.

Fereba told the PA news agency: “We’re so relieved that she’s safe and she’s out of this nightmare. We’re still worried about her as she’s now quarantining and is not in good health but she says she’s getting medical help from doctors.

“We’re excited knowing she’s just around the corner and are looking forward to having her back home. We want to do a celebration when she comes back, the whole family is already talking about it.”

Fereba said the details of her journey are still unclear as her mother was extremely unwell but she has been told that Layloma missed the flight she was due to be on because she was unconscious.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
A civilian charter flight is seen arriving at a UK airport from Kabul on Wednesday (SAC Samantha Holden RAF/PA)

She added Layloma was on medical observation for five hours and was put on a drip before boarding a flight to Dubai late on Wednesday evening.

Layloma then arrived back on UK soil at 3am on Friday.

“My mum told me about her experience and it’s heartbreaking, shocking and absolutely nightmarish,” Fereba said.

“I cannot believe or fathom the things she told me. She’s going to need some sort of aftercare and things like that to help with all the things she’s witnessed.

“But she praised the British troops and the service they offered her more than anything else.”

She added: “I am very grateful (to Sayed). We feel so blessed that there was someone who aided my mum and makes us hopeful that there will be people helping out.

“We said we’re going to be keeping in touch with this guy and said anything we can do for you, don’t hesitate to call.”