A GROUP of Afghan students have spoken of their pride having graduated from Edinburgh Napier following the Taliban insurgency.

Tens of thousands of people fled Afghanistan when the country’s government fell in 2021, when the Taliban took control and international troops withdrew.

Amin Ul Haq Majeed, Bilal Rafi, Rafi Ullah Jabarkhail, Ahmad Reshad Halimi, Allahdad Afghan, Idress Rasooly, Mujeeb Rahman Fazli, Ibrahim Anwari and his brother, Abdur Rahim Anwari, all picked up their degrees during the University's summer graduation ceremonies at Usher Hall.

Since fleeing to Edinburgh, the Afghans have made the capital city their home and between them completed several different subjects, including business management and computing.

The National:

Abdur Rahim Anwari already had an offer to attend Napier when the evacuation of Kabul took place two years ago. The 29-year-old said: “Suddenly everything changed. I informed Edinburgh Napier and they replied very quickly, offering me support such as hardship funds so I could study. This was a turning point for me.

“I didn’t even have £10 in my pocket when I arrived. It was a very difficult time, but thanks to the support from the university we have made it through.

“My fellow Afghan students were in the same situation. We have become friends by going on this journey together. We’re very thankful to the university.

“It is impossible now, but one day I want to go back home to Afghanistan with what I have learned.”

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Bilal Rafi said: “2021 in Afghanistan was a very big problem – we lost everything when it all happened. But when we came here, Edinburgh Napier University helped us get started, and I am very thankful for that.

“It was a very scary time. We didn’t know anyone here and our families weren’t safe back home. Everything was at risk. Everything was unstable.

“On the first day when I came to the university, I didn’t know anyone – except Amin. We didn’t know anyone and we didn’t have anything.

“But it gave us the motivation, the inspiration to complete our education, and finally complete our degree.

“You can feel it when you are here in a safe place and your family is at risk. It was very difficult, mentally, especially for the first four, six months – I couldn’t sleep at night.

“But later on, with the help of Edinburgh Napier University, especially the Safeguarding Team, we did it.”