Fahim Ahmadi had his bags packed and thought he was ready to flee Afghanistan with his family at short notice.
But when an alert came from another Afghan who like him previously worked with the Australian Defence Force as an interpreter to get to Kabul airport in half an hour, he left with just his wife, child and their visa documents.
“We went (with just) our clothes and went to Kabul airport,” Fahim told SBS News on Friday.
Fahim, along with his family and his brother and his brother’s wife and child, waded through crowds at the airport, avoiding Taliban gunfire to reach the gate.
It was then Fahim was faced with a difficult choice.
His brother, unlike him, didn’t have a visa.
Fahim had to leave him behind.
“My brother, his wife, and his family members were crying and saying ‘you are going outside Afghanistan, you are going to have a good life, a safe life, and we are going to be killed in this bad situation’,” Fahim said.
Fahim is now in hotel quarantine in Perth, having been among 94 others who reached Australia from the United Arab Emirates on Friday morning.
He is urging the Australian government to help his brother.
“I’m very thankful,” he said. “The only thing I want to request is to please, please, please help my brother who is stuck in Kabul.”
Thousands of people desperate to flee Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country are still thronging the airport, where the situation remains volatile.
There have been reports Taliban fighters are blocking the entry of Australian citizens and visa holders from getting on evacuation flights.
Videos, seen by SBS News, show constant rounds of gunfire at the airport gate line.
Some people have reported seeing children crushed underneath dense crowds.
Another 60 Australians and Afghan visa holders made it out of Kabul on an evacuation flight to the United Arab Emirates overnight, though a Sydney travel agent assisting people trying to leave has told SBS News some citizens were hampered by Taliban guards and crowds.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday it was not possible for Australian soldiers to conduct operations to retrieve people outside the Kabul airport gates.
“Operations of Australian Defence Force or others who were there beyond the airport are not possible,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“To do so would put them at great risk.”