In Spain, the Afghan basketball star fears for the country she left

BILBAO, Spain, Aug.22 (Reuters) – As she began a new life in Spain after escaping the chaos of Kabul, Nilofar Bayat said on Sunday that she could not live under the Taliban, which she said will cancel all the achievements of Afghanistan. the last 20 years.

The captain of the Afghan wheelchair basketball team arrived in Madrid on a flight from Kabul on Friday with her husband Ramesh Naik Zai, 27, and more than 100 other refugees.

“I saw at the (Kabul) airport how dangerous (the Taliban) are. I saw them shoot and beat. I was crying. My husband told me to be strong, I will never let you. alone, “Bayat, 28, told Reuters.

“When I saw the Taliban, I said (to my husband) that I wanted to leave this country because I cannot live with these people.”

Bayat have been offered the chance to play for Bidaideak Bilbao BSR, a wheelchair basketball team from the city of Bilbao, in northern Spain, where the couple will live.

When she was two years old, her family’s home in Kabul was hit by a rocket, injuring her spinal cord. His brother was killed. Bayat’s husband was also injured by a mine.

“They (the Taliban) came and changed my life and that of (my husband). They put unstoppable pain in our lives. A permanent handicap that we have to accept.”

Bayat, who secured a seat on the plane from Kabul thanks to the efforts of the Spanish government and the Spanish Basketball Federation, fears for Afghanistan’s future under the Taliban.

“They will destroy all the wishes and achievements of the past 20 years,” Bayat said.

She said she feared the role of women would be diminished under the Taliban.

“To be a woman under the Taliban does not mean anything, you are not part of society.”

As she began her new life, she said of her compatriots in Afghanistan: “We pray that they will be safe. Please don’t give up.

Reporting by Graham Keeley Additional reporting by Elena Rodriguez, Marco Trujillo, Vincent West Editing by Giles Elgood

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