From the Taliban to the streets of Brussels, this is my story

| Dit artikel past in een opdracht voor studenten uit het eerste jaar met als onderwerp cmp - international programme.

interviewee photo in Brussels at Fedasil

From Afghanistan to the streets of Brussels / FOTO: Lovis Somer


All people chase their hopes and ambition. I, on the other hand, chased something that is self-evident for most: a safe country. 

I knew the Taliban were looking for me and that it was dangerous for us to have the wedding, but we had it anyways. It was a brisk night in January; you could see the smoke come out of the chimneys. We were in my hometown, surrounded by a few mountains that were watching over us. The evening before the big day, I spent time with my friends in the guesthouse. But as the dark skies announced the night, it was time for me to go home. When I looked over the street, I saw them: four men armed with guns waiting for me in front of my house. The Taliban had found me. From that moment on, I was on the run.

The war in Afghanistan is different than from other wars, you don’t know who the enemy is.” 


Back then, I was a lieutenant for the Afghan army and worked as a database officer for the Ministry of Defense. I was a jewel for the terror group, as I held the keys to important government documents. The night before my wedding, they were out of luck and went home with empty hands. I have no clue how they found me, but the war in Afghanistan is different: you don’t know who the enemy is.

I stayed in Kabul for the next few months, working in the office. On the 18th of August, at 9 a.m. sharp, the terror group took over the city. On the phone with my father, we decided that my brother and I should flee the country as fast as possible.

My brother bought two train tickets with fake names to the border of Iran. From there, a smuggler helped us to get to the Iranian capital. In Tehran, we worked on a construction site to save money to get to our next destination: Turkey.

In November 2021, we decided to cross the border by foot. The cold winter storm wasn’t generous that night: the snow reached our hips, and people couldn’t get through. Out of 120 crossing the mountains, only 20 made it to the other side. My brother wasn’t one of them. Up until now, I don’t know where my brother is.

In Turkey, smugglers brought us to an abandoned house. There, I got beaten and extorted for money I didn’t have. All the gold we had, I had sold already.

Up until now, I don`t know where my brother is.”


Before we headed on our journey on foot to Istanbul, we talked to Allah in the mosque. As if my prayers were answered, we met an older man who invited us for food and a warm shower. He gave us money to take a bus to the next village. From there, we walked for a month until we reached the city.

In the capital, I worked as an ironer to save money for a boat to Greece. For 1500 liras, the boat was mine. I crossed the waters with two friends two weeks later. Once in Greece, we got stopped by the police. There, they took all my documents and ID card, leaving me with nothing but a t-shirt and pants. They sent us back to Turkey. There they deported us to Syria. It was a huge step backwards, but I couldn’t lose faith, and I wouldn’t. Once we arrived in a camp in Syria, me and a few others plotted our escape. Allah was with me again as we managed to get out of there.

The second time we crossed to Greece, we succeeded. I was in Europe. But the horror wouldn’t end: the police caught us again in Hungary after walking endless kilometres over mountains and rivers. They brought us back to Romania, where they beat us black and blue.

Then, friends from Afghanistan arranged for a smuggler to take us to Germany in his truck. From Germany, I went to France and from there to Brussels in Belgium.

They say, that time is gold, yet here I am, spending it like it is paper.”

A refugee waiting for the procedure at Fedasil in Brussels, next to a pile of garbage.
Waiting for the asylum procedure outside the centre (photo: Lovis Somer)

I spent 52 days on the streets before my asylum procedure came through. At first, I didn’t have a sleeping bag, so there was only a naked carton between me and the cold ground. But I told myself that it was okay. I made it this far, and it is almost over.

I have been in the asylum centre for two months now, waiting for my documents so I can start a new life here and bring my family. Time is gold, yet here I am, spending it like paper. There is nothing left to do but wait.

While I was crossing the mountains in Iran, my son was born. Now, a week ago, he took his first steps. I wasn`t there either. He doesn’t know his father. If you can`t see your beloved, all meaning in life is lost. I am a father and a husband without my child and my wife. 

De auteur

Lovis Somer

Profiel E-mail

Passionate writer, photographer and upcoming videographer. All about people, places & lifestyle.