Our lives are on pause, says Afghan evacuee after 11 months in British hotel

An evacuated Afghan woman who lived in a hotel near Leeds for nearly a year said she felt her family had “life stopped” while waiting for news of permanent housing from the Home Office.

In a letter seen by the BBC, refugee minister Lord Harrington asked the councils to help accommodate the 10,500 Afghans who are currently staying in hotels across the UK.

Marwa Kufi, 21, fled Kabul, Afghanistan when the city was taken over by the Taliban last August, and has lived in two hotels for the past 12 months.

She said a year was wasted and she was recently separated from family members after three of them were moved from a hotel in Selby, North Yorkshire to a hotel near Crawley, West Sussex.

“I’ve been in a hotel for 11 months, I don’t want to stay in a hotel for another 11 months,” Ms Kufi, who will be studying international relations at King’s College London in September, told the PA news agency.


Marva Kufi recently moved from a hotel in Selby, North Yorkshire to a hotel near Crawley, West Sussex (Marva Kufi/PA).

“I lost a year because my hotel (in Selby) was in a place where I couldn’t do anything.

“When I look back on last year, I see it as an empty space – nothing, I did nothing.

“You don’t even have the energy to get out of bed because you know your day is nothing.

“I feel like our lives are on pause, I just want our lives to be played.”

On July 26, Mrs. Kufi was transferred to a hotel near Crawley, where she lives with her mother and brother.

Her 35-year-old sister is staying at a hotel outside Leeds, while Ms Kufi’s two brothers, aged 23 and 26, have been sent to a hotel in Manchester.

She said the separation from her family had reopened the psychological wounds inflicted on her after she left her home in Afghanistan.

“At Leeds we were all together and we were close to each other,” she said.


The British Armed Forces helped evacuate British citizens and Afghans from Kabul, Pennsylvania.

“We had a wound from leaving Afghanistan and with each other, we tried to bandage it, and we were fine, and the wound did not bleed anymore.

“But after the families split up, it seems like the bandages were taken off and they started to bleed.

“Memories of Afghanistan come every day, and because we are alone, we have more time to think about what happened to us.”

Ms Kufi said Lord Harrington’s push to house Afghan refugees is only a “great idea” if it comes to fruition.

“This is what the Afghans really want and I hope it does not fail,” she said.

“I want to have that feeling after losing my home in Afghanistan and I want to have a home where I feel at home.

“Once you feel like you’re in a house and it’s your own house and you can clean your room, put your house in order, maybe it won’t feel like your own country, but you can feel it’s yours.” house”.

I don’t feel hope anymore.Marva Kufi

The student added that she and her family began to lose hope of finding permanent housing.

“There is always hope and there is always a bright light, but I want to feel that word again,” she said.

“I don’t feel it anymore.

“No one else—no one from my family.

The PA news agency reached out to the Home Office for comment, but it had not responded at the time of publication.