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Durban dad evacuated from Kabul after Taliban take-over is happy to be home

Kerwin van der Merwe is back home. Picture: Facebook

Kerwin van der Merwe is back home. Picture: Facebook

Published Aug 24, 2021

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FOUR flights later and a Durban dad is happy to be home and sleeping in his own bed again.

Kerwin van der Merwe landed in SA on Sunday after he was evacuated from Kabul in the wake of a violent take-over by Taliban forces last week.

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The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan just two weeks before the completion of the withdrawal of US troops.

The militant group has since taken control of major Afghan cities.

Van der Merwe is a firefighter based at an airport in Kabul.

He said when the take-over unfolded, only military aircraft could land at the airport.

"For us it was hectic, the base became full over a short period of time. There were people everywhere. Even on the flight we came back on, that plane has 100 seats and there were like 178 of us. It was a military plane and we were taking turns sitting on the floor," he recalled.

He said the take-over happened very quickly with insurgents moving in from the south and worked their way into the north.

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Van der Merwe said there was a lot of gunfire around the airport to keep people away.

This was not his first “war-like” experience as he was previously based in Kandar.

The journey to his wife and children was long as he travelled from Kabul to Uzbekistan, then to Frankfurt, Johannesburg and to Durban.

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He said he was relieved to be home. He added he was home for good.

Van der Merwe expressed his gratitude to the German military.

“Those guys were amazing. Even in Germany, they helped us a lot. Just to get through and get our way back to Durban. The did a lot for us,” he said.

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