SULAIMANIYA, Iraq: Since the Taliban took over Kabul in August 2021, most Afghan girls have been banned from going to school. The campus of Afghanistan's American university remains closed and its students were left uncertain of their future.
Esmatullah Sahak, an Afghan student studying in Sulaimaniya in Iraq's Kurdistan region, said, "I anticipated that my education would literally end."
A week before she left Afghanistan in October 2021, another Afghan student in Sulaimaniya, Shakila Mohammadi, 22, visited her hometown on a short break from university.
"At that time, I did not know that this was the last time I could visit," the 22-year-old law student said, as quoted by Reuters.
"But on the day of our evacuation, when I said goodbye to my mother and father, I realized that I would not be able to see them for a very long time," she added.
After several weeks of online studies, Sahak and Mohammadi were given the opportunity to continue their education at the American University of Iraq Sulaimani in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Of the 110 Afghan students who traveled to Sulaimaniya to complete their studies, 32 graduated at the beginning of June, including Mohammadi and Sahak, who both want to complete their masters' degrees abroad and return home one day.
Sahak said the opportunity of completing her studies is a privilege that made her choose to become a teacher, while Mohammadi aims to become a lawyer and "show the community and society that girls can practice law internationally."