Taliban takeover: Afghan students graduate in Iraq

Shakila Mohammadi took a week off from university to visit her village a week before she departed Afghanistan in October 2021.

“At the time, I had no idea that this would be the last time I could visit my favorite place,” the 22-year-old law student from Sulaimaniya, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said.

“However, as I bid farewell to my mother and father on the day of our departure, I realized that I would not be able to see them for a long time,” she stated.

Girls have been mostly barred from attending secondary school since the Taliban gained control of Kabul in August 2021. The American university’s campus in Afghanistan was shuttered, leaving its students unsure of their future.

“I expected my study to come to an end,” Esmatullah Sahak, another Afghan student in Sulaimaniya, said.

Mohammadi and Sahak were offered the opportunity to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan to finish their study at the American University of Iraq Sulaimani after many weeks of online studies.

They said that they were initially concerned, noting Iraq’s lengthy history of violence. “I was terrified to come here. I didn’t think I was heading to a better place, “Mohammadi stated the following.

Mohammadi said her anxieties faded when she settled down in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, which is normally regarded more stable than the rest of the country.

Mohammadi and Sahak were among the 32 Afghan students who graduated in early June after traveling to Sulaimaniya to finish their education.

Now that they have their bachelor’s degree, they want to pursue their master’s degrees overseas with the hopes of returning home one day.

The chance to finish his education is a treasure for Sahak, which is why he chose to become a teacher.

Mohammadi wants to be a lawyer so she can “show the community and society that ladies can practice law globally.”

Afghans make up one of the world’s greatest refugee groups, according to the UNHCR. There are 2.6 million Afghan refugees registered, with 2.2 million of them in Iran and Pakistan alone.

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