A SCHOLAR from Afghanistan who fled the Taliban in Kabul with his family said they are settling in here and loving their new life.

Naimat Zafary, 36, was evacuated by British troops with his wife Saima and four small children on August 23.

They spent months in a hotel in London along with thousands of other Afghans before the Home Office arranged a permanent move to Hove on December 17.

Since moving in, Naimat said Saima, 28, and their children have received a warm welcome from neighbours in the area and they look forward to meeting more.

His daughters Hina, nine, Hurmat, seven, and Mahnoor, three, and son Ahmad Taimur, two, will be starting in primary schools and nurseries.

Meanwhile, Saima is learning English and Naimat is carrying on his studies at the University of Sussex after he was accepted on to the prestigious Chevening scholarship, a government scholarship aimed at “developing global leaders”.

He completed his first semester from his hotel room for his master's degree in governance, development and public policy with the hope of one day being able to help the situation in his country.

The Argus: From left, Mahnoor, Naimat, Hurmat and Hina in HoveFrom left, Mahnoor, Naimat, Hurmat and Hina in Hove


He said they are settling in well and love Brighton and Hove, but are in regular contact with their family back in Afghanistan who are in what he describes as a “nightmare” situation.

Naimat told The Argus: “I think it’s fantastic, we got a very warm welcome from our neighbours. We have a feeling of a home, our neighbours have brought us sweets and cookies which we really loved.

“We love walking along the beach side, we just went to Churchill Square and the pier. We really love cooking food in our own kitchen after four months in a hotel. We can cook our own Afghani food."

The Argus: Naimat said he has been loving the University of SussexNaimat said he has been loving the University of Sussex

He said the weather has not been too much of a shock as Kabul often has snow at this time of year.

He said: “Yes, it’s a bit rainy. But we lived in Kabul for 20 years and it’s snowing there right now. The rain is a new thing we’re experiencing.”

Naimat and his family were evacuated by British troops in August, along with thousands of others, from Kabul Airport.

He said: “It was like a nightmare, I am honestly speaking. I cannot forget it, the situation in my country.

“I can still see it in my dreams or every day even when I am walking. The whole system collapsed, the government is no more there. Everyone was in a panic, we didn’t know where we were going.

“It is just shocking but honestly I salute the women at home for their rights. They are faring for their life but asking for their rights of education and working."

The Argus: Naimat and his family were evacuated from Kabul Airport back in AugustNaimat and his family were evacuated from Kabul Airport back in August

He applied for the government-funded Chevening scholarship for the last four years, finally getting accepted this year by the British embassy in Afghanistan.

Naimat said after his master's he wants to do a PhD and hopes one day to help the situation in Afghanistan.

He said: “It depends if we’re allowed to go back which I feel is a bit impossible. You see what is happening out there, as a father of four children I can’t go back and say no to their education.

“The economy is collapsing but I want to do my service for my people. My intention is to stay here and continue my education, do my PhD and try to help provide online lessons about government and youth participation for people. That is my target over the next few years, to work on education.”

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