MONTREAL / TORONTO — An Afghan interpreter has been reunited with her family in Canada after they were able to board one of the last evacuation flights out of Kabul.
Maryam Sahar told CTV National News that she has feared for the past decade that she would never see her brothers and mother again.
However, the former interpreter’s family was among those who were able to flee to Canada in August. The family recently held a backyard party to celebrate finally being reunited.
“I was a little scared how the reunion would go, but they turned out to be really, really nice men,” Sahar said of her brothers in an interview with CTV News.
Sahar served as an interpreter in Kandahar after being hired by now-retired Canadian soldier Charlotte Greenall.
Sahar was just 15 years old when she signed on to help the mission in Afghanistan and was the only local female interpreter for the Canadian Armed Forces. She ignored threats from the Taliban for helping Canada in the hopes of bringing peace to her homeland.
She fled to Canada for a new life in 2011 after one of her brothers, Omer Sahar, was kidnapped, drugged and tortured by the Taliban for escorting her to the base.
“He wore the scars. He was 12 years old when the Taliban took him,” Sahar said.
Months before the Taliban regained power in August, Sahar and Greenall had pleaded with Ottawa to help save Sahar’s family and those of others who assisted in the war effort.
After many sleepless nights, Sahar’s two brothers and mother were able to board the last rescue flight out of Kabul before the airport shut down.
Sahar previously told CTV News that a bureaucratic hurdle at the airport nearly derailed their escape, with a visa issue threatening to leave her 12-year-old brother, Ibrahim Sahar, behind. In the end, the family was able to board together.
Escaping the Taliban proved to be a difficult journey, and their family reunion was emotional.
“I love her, I love the way she is. I was loving her the way she was ten years ago, and I love her the way she is and really proud of her,” Omer said of his sister.
Despite the happy reunion, the family knows there are still obstacles ahead for them.
“Being a refugee is like being a kid again, you have to re-learn everything,” Sahar said.
Now in Canada, the family hopes Omer can finish his studies to become a software engineer and that Ibrahim can also attend university in the future.
Despite any challenges the family may face, Greenall, who Sahar now affectionately calls “mom,” said she is here to help them.
“We will treat them as our own children, and we will bring them into our lives. They might as well be the Greenalls with the Sahars, because we will be just one happy family, that is what will happen,” she said.