PUNE: When Dr Parag Rabade started teaching at colleges in Kabul in 2014, he used to get scared of the sound of bomb blasts, which made him think of returning to India, but soon he got used to it and decided to stay put in order to educate the students there.
However, earlier this week, he was left with no other option but to leave the war-ravaged country and return to India as Taliban insurgents swept into the Afghanistan capital on Sunday after the government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani left the country.
Rabade, 52, who has done a doctorate in computer science and management, was working in Afghanistan as part of a World Bank project, and started teaching in Kabul-based private colleges and other educational institutes eight years ago.
He was among the Indians, who were brought back to the country in a special plane earlier this week.
The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Unprecedented scenes were witnessed in the Afghan capital, where panic-stricken people are scurrying to escape from the country.
"Monday was very difficult. We kept getting information from the Indian embassy about the developments. However, Taliban reached Kabul earlier than expected. After that, I went to the airport, where I saw that everybody was scared. so was I. And when I was told that there is no plane at that time, it was left with no other option but to go to the embassy office," he said on his return to Pune, his hometown.
There was a curfew-like situation and everything was shut.
When I reached the embassy office, many others were already there, he said.
"Later, an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane reached Kabul, through which we 143 Indians and office-bearers and defence personnel returned to India," he said.
Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, Rabade said, "When I went there in 2014, I used to get scared after hearing bomb blasts. However, later he got used to it. Initially I thought of returning to India, but then I thought of educating students there and decided to stay."
Initially, around 30 per cent of the students were girls, but by 2020 this number increased to almost 50 per cent, he said.
"Parents were allowing girls to get educated. Now I hope that Taliban will also let girls take education," he said.
Rabade also said that if given a chance I would like to return there to teach.
"Over the years, I learned Persian language. So communication with the locals was not an issue. Now, students text me about uncertainty, but I try to give some positivity to themm. My family members are saying that they won't let me go to Afghanistan now. But I wish that when the situation is back to normal, I want to go and continue teaching there," he added.