(NewsNation) — At the end of August, 2021, Omid Haidar was at the Kabul airport with thousands of other Afghans desperate to leave the country before the Taliban took over.
“After my first try, I decided to never try it again because I could see how difficult was it. And I could see people dying near the airport,” Haidar told NewsNation.
Haidar went back to work as a reporter at TOLOnews, Afghanistan’s largest TV news network. Now, it’s under Taliban rule.
“We were seeing people’s problems, difficulties, and how they are suffering, but you are not able to deliver the way they want,” Haidar said. “We did our best to say some things, but there was no freedom of speech. No freedom at all.”
By the end of September a Dutch group, called Free Press Unlimited, helped Haidar make it Pakistan. He left behind his mother, father and eight siblings.
Haidar spent five months in Pakistan as a refugee and dreamed of emigrating to the U.S., Canada or France.
Many documents and a lot of stress later, he learned his fate. Canada accepted Haidar and his fiancée Zohra.
“I had no destiny. So when I was landing in Calgary, I felt happy that I’m back in a country where, where I can start again, where I can be hopeful,” Haidar said.
The snow and cold was a shock, and being far from family and friends was difficult.
Hoever, Haidar and Zohra decided to get married earlier than planned and tied the knot in March.
The wedding reception took place in Kabul. Haidar and Zohra attended online.
Recently, Haidar started a job at Home Depot. It’s a lot different than reporting, but he likes it and is making friends.
“They’re all lovely people. The best the best thing I’ve experienced in this, it’s people. So I love that.” Haidar has hopes of bringing his family to Canada one day.
“I would be very happy if I could help even one single man in my home country,” Haidar said. He misses his homeland, but he hopes to give back someday.