Farkhondeh Akbari has called Australia home for nearly two decades but had plans to return to her first home in Afghanistan once she finished her thesis.
After fleeing as a child along with her family before her ninth birthday, she wanted to return to the place where it all began to help the country return to peace after nearly 50 years of conflict.
But recent events, including Australia's withdrawal of troops from the region after a 20-year war, have made that dream more difficult.
Two decades after the 9/11 twin tower attacks in New York City, the coalition of international forces are planning their withdrawal from the central Asian country.
It also comes nearly 10 years to the date after founder and leader of the militant organisation al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by United States forces in his Pakistan compound.
It has experts concerned the country is a powder keg waiting to explode.
Grave concerns are being held for the Afghan people who risked their lives to assist Australian troops and have been left behind to face the violence alone.
And for those who served in Australia's longest war and watching the situation again deteriorate: what was the mission and was it really achieved?
History repeats itself
As an ethnic Hazara - an ethno-cultural group who are predominantly Shia Muslims - Farkhondeh and her family were targeted by the Sunni-majority Taliban forces in the '90s, forcing her family to flee and find refuge in Australia.
She feels as if history is repeating itself as Taliban forces again move in on the power vacuum left by withdrawing international forces with the situation potentially becoming even more devastating than her own.
Hazara, and other ethnic minorities in the country, continued to be targeted over the years international forces remained in the country but the violence was somewhat quelled and those in the cities experienced a sense of liberation, she said.
If you go to our community centres over the weekend, there's always five, six funerals of young people - these are not people who died because of age, it's people, our families, who have been killed in Afghanistan.Farkhondeh Akbari
But it was all at risk as the extremist group moved in toward populated towns and cities to claw back their hold over the region.
"There has been 20 years of development, 20 years of some sort of democracy and freedom experienced by the people so we have changed as people and as a generation," Farkhondeh said.
"Women have found agency and a voice, and even [20 years ago], we still had very brave and courageous women going out of their way and risking their lives to educate girls in their basements.
"But if there were few then, now there are millions like that.
"I think that's something that we are afraid of - that it will take [the conflict] to another level, because people will resist stronger or harder and they will face more violence because of it."
A community uncomfortably familiar with death and mourning
The effects of international troops withdrawing their presence from the country are already being felt with an increase in violent attacks in recent months.
An explosion outside a school in Afghanistan's capital Kabul in May left nearly 70 dead and more than 150 injured.
The attack took place in the neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, home to a large community of Shi'ites from the Hazara ethnic minority which has been targeted in the past by Islamic State militants, a Sunni militant group.
Farkhondeh said it's sadly a familiar story for many of the Hazara Australians who watch global news to stay updated.
"As a community, we are always mourning the death of the people back at home," Farkhondeh said.
"If you go to our community centres over the weekend, there's always five, six funerals of young people - these are not people who died because of age, it's people, our families, who have been killed in Afghanistan.
"We can't do much other than just our raising voices."
The impact of recent events is being felt by the ACT Hazara Community group too.
Salehi Mohammad first arrived by boat from Afghanistan after a long journey through Pakistan and Indonesia in the late '90s.
It was a time when the federal government's policy was a lot "kinder" but Salehi still recalled being branded as a "boat person".
He had to flee suddenly when the Taliban stormed his region and eventually landed in Australia at the turn of the century, he said.
"If you have a fire in your house, and the door is blocked, you will take any opportunity, from anywhere, to get out of the house before you get burned," Salehi said.
While his immediate family was allowed to move to Australia in 2008, he's preoccupied with the rest of the loved ones he left behind who now face the Taliban's resurgence.
"I woke up at two o'clock in the morning last night to check the news to have a look if there was any problem there, who was killed, who has died," Salehi said.
"I have my sister there, I have my mother there, I have my whole family there."
If you have a fire in your house, and the door is blocked, you will take any opportunity from anywhere to get out of the house before you get burned.Salehi Mohammad
The Hazara people are firmly in the Taliban's sights but Salehi said their extremist interpretation of Islam meant many more lives would be at risk.
"It's a death sentence for people who worked with NATO and Australian troops. It's a death sentence for anybody who has studied. It's a death sentence for Hazara people and it's a death sentence for Shia people," Salehi said.
He warned blood would be on the hands of the international community that left the Afghan people behind.
"Australia's guilty, America's guilty and I'd say all foreign forces are guilty for every Hazara death that happens because they just left them in the middle of nowhere," he said.
"Just tied them up and passed them to the Taliban to be killed."
An opportunity for Australia to show its heart
ACT Hazara president Hussain Muhammad said questions still needed to be answered over what the international community achieved with its war in Afghanistan.
If the mission was simple - to kill Osama Bin Laden - he said it wasn't obvious why forces had then stayed on for another decade.
"[US] President Biden said 'we won the war the day we killed Bin Laden' but Bin Laden was a person. [Extremist forces are] a mindset and you haven't been able to kill that mindset," Hussain said.
"Killing Bin Laden hasn't stopped the war. Killing Bin Laden hasn't actually improved the situation, it has made it even worse."
The Hazara community are calling on the Australian government to restore its reputation after the overnight abandonment of the Afghan people.
Hussain said he wants the government to prioritise urgent temporary protection visas to those fleeing persecution.
"Citizenship cases should be finalised quickly and as per normal rather than based on the mode of arrival - whether you have come by air, whether you have come by boat," Hussain said.
"We have got a responsibility [to asylum seekers], like we have had a responsibility to stand with our allies in the war."
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs confirmed there would be no change to size of the Humanitarian Program, which will remain at 13,750 places over the next four years.
"Australia will remain one of the most generous humanitarian resettlement countries in the world, maintaining our long-term commitment to humanitarian resettlement," the spokesperson said.
"Each case is assessed on its merits and decisions are not based on broad assumptions about the safety in particular countries."
Foreign aid could also be given directly to the Hazara communities on the frontline of the fight against extremism, he suggested.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne was asked to explain whether the federal government was considering foreign aid packages for those affected by the Taliban's resurgence after the withdrawal but did not respond.
Farkhondeh said her visits back to the country since leaving were a strange feeling of pride and embarrassment.
She recalled seeing a bloodied scene reported on the television, with "limbs and bloodshed", and right next to it was an advertisement paid for by the Australian government.
It warned Afghan people not to come to Australia.
"It was very arrogant, it was so insensitive," she said.
Farkhondeh said she hoped the government would take a more human approach to its humanitarian obligations and stop politicising refugees in desperate need of assistance.
"It's a shared responsibility," Farkhondeh said.
"The way that the international community left Afghanistan, it is a failure for every country involved there, including Australia.
"Afghanistan is in a very, very bad situation, and in a globalised world, whatever is happening there ... could spill into the region.
"I think it's in the Australian national interest to protect the people and find the best way to handle the situation."
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