Afghan interpreter ‘happiest parent’ as son starts school in UK

Burhan Vesal with his wife and son (Burhan Vesal/PA)
Burhan Vesal with his wife and son (Burhan Vesal/PA)

An Afghan interpreter who worked with the British Army has said he is “the happiest parent” after his son started school in the UK.

Burhan Vesal, 34, from Kabul and his family were evacuated from Afghanistan in August as the Taliban took control of the country.

His son, Sepehr, six, had been unable to attend school when Kabul collapsed, but last week was enrolled at a school in London.

(Burhan Vesal)

“Always I am asking him ‘how is the school here?’ He is saying fantastic, lovely, and he learns a lot,” Mr Vesal told the PA news agency.

“He can speak English he is always calling ‘good morning father’. All the parents want is for their child to be educated, to have a bright future, and that’s all we want for him.

“I am the happiest parent.”

Mr Vesal worked with the British Army in Afghanistan from 2009 for about three years, and described leaving his country as “the happiest and the saddest moment”.

He said that in the months before Kabul fell he would take his son to school, and they would both fear for one another’s lives.

(Burhan Vesal)

“There was lots of explosions everywhere, no-one was safe,” Mr Vesal said.

“Whenever Sepehr was going to school he was asking me ‘do not go to the duty because there is explosions’.

“It was a shock for me that a six-year-old child is saying to me ‘do not go to your duty, stay home’.

“The situation (was) getting worse day by day, fighting was coming from the provinces towards Kabul city.

“At the morning I was going with him to school and at the afternoon his mother was bringing him from school.

(Burhan Vesal)

“All the time we are worrying, all the time we were contacting his teacher, ‘is he fine? If something is going to happen we should come or not?'”

The family are in a hotel awaiting new accommodation, while Mr Vesal said he and his wife, a doctor, are taking online English classes and both want to work.

Sepehr meanwhile is “very happy” according to his father, although he was surprised to learn about the UK’s two-day weekend.

“He tells me that ‘I’ve got a new friend, his name is this, his name is that’ and he is very happy,” said Mr Vesal.

“Once I told him that in Afghanistan we only have Fridays holiday and here we have Saturday and Sunday – he told me ‘why two days? It should be one day’.”

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