picture of a woman and a child sitting on a rock by the beach

A year on from the fall of Kabul, Afghans reflect on their new lives in Australia

Before being forced to flee Kabul as the Taliban returned to power, Maryam Nabavi was a frontline print and radio journalist.

Ms Nabavi’s courageous reporting focused on democracy and women’s rights—particularly education for girls—in what was still a firmly patriarchal society.

Exactly a year after the fall of the Afghan capital on August 15, 2021, Ms Nabavi is gradually getting used to a new, freer and more secure way of living with her son and husband in their adopted country: Australia.

However, the restrictions on the rights and freedoms imposed on women and girls in her native land continue to haunt her thousands of kilometers away.

At the moment, she is primarily occupied with caring for her young son and learning English but she’s keen to restart her career.

She deeply misses the purposefulness and excitement of her life as a reporter in Afghanistan.

“Since I came to Australia, I am not the same person anymore,” she said.

“The first days when I came here were very difficult for me. I spent days and nights crying and a deep sense of emptiness took over my whole being.”

Ms Nabavi is one of thousands of Afghans who have embarked on new lives in Australia, while grappling with the emotions of fleeing their country on the heels of the abrupt US withdrawal.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, 5,929 permanent humanitarian visas were granted to Afghan nationals between August 15, 2021, and July 31, 2022.

However, almost 50,000 applications on behalf of more than 200,000 people have been lodged in that time and only another 31,500 places are available over the next four years.