Daughter of Brit killed in Kabul attack begs UK to bring mother home

Daughter of British shopkeeper killed in ISIS-K Kabul airport terror attack begs the UK Government to help bring her mother home

  • Zohra Popal, 23, said the Foreign Office have not been back in touch with family
  • ‘Their number is constantly engaged. We feel ignored,’ she said
  • Her father Musa Popal, 60, was killed by a suicide bomber at Kabul airport
  • His wife Saleema, who was with him, was left covered in blood but unharmed
  • Saleema said she is now without papers as her husband was carrying everything when he died, her daughter said 
  • The couple’s grandson, Hameed, 14, is currently missing and feared to be dead
  • Three British citizens and the daughter of a UK national were killed in the terrorist atrocity on Thursday in which more than 180 people died

The daughter of a British shopkeeper who was killed in the attack on Kabul airport is begging the UK Government to help bring her mother home.

Zohra Popal, 23, said the family feel ‘ignored’ by the Foreign Office, which she said has not made contact since news of her father’s death was confirmed.

Musa Popal, 60, was pushing through the crowd trying to attract the attention of soldiers by waving his British passport when he was killed by the suicide bomber, it was reported last night.

His wife Saleema managed to crawl away from the carnage. 

Their 14-year-old grandson, Hameed, who lived in Afghanistan and acted as an interpreter for his grandparents, is missing and feared dead. 

Ms Popal said she fears for the life of her mother, 60, who remains in Afghanistan, and members of her family who she believes could be targeted by the Taliban. 

‘My mum, she has no documents now because my dad was holding everything when he died.  

‘She and the rest of my family are still in danger, and we still might lose them. And yet we can’t get through to the Foreign Office.

‘Their number is constantly engaged. We feel completely ignored.

‘But we must get them to safety. I can’t live without them. We need the Government’s help.’ 

Musa Popal (pictured) was pushing through the crowd trying to attract the attention of soldiers by waving his British passport when he was killed by the suicide bomber, it was reported last night

Mr Popal was among three British citizens who were killed in the suicide attack in the Afghan capital on Thursday. More than 180 people were killed in the twin blasts. 

‘I’ve never experienced pain like this. I feel like I’m falling to a thousand pieces,’ his daughter said.

‘Most of us haven’t slept or eaten in days. I just want to hug my dad once more, and I want to kiss my mother.

‘My nephew, Hameed Popal, who is just 14 years old, is still missing after the bomb. And now I’m really worried about my mum and other siblings being targeted by the Taliban.

‘I don’t think any of us could take another loss.’ 

Mr Popal, a British-Afghan dual national from Hendon, had been running the Madeena Supermarket near Brent Cross for the past 20 years.  

Mrs Popal, who was watching from a distance, was uninjured, but their grandson Hameed, who was standing with Mr Popal, remains missing.   

‘My mother, she had to crawl away, covered in blood and pieces of people. She saw everything,’ Ms Popal said. 

‘There was blood everywhere, she told us, and they were slipping in it when they were trying to get up.

‘It was so loud that some of them are still deaf and can’t hear each other. It was a living nightmare for them.

‘Had we known anything like this would happen, we wouldn’t have let them go.’    

Pictured: A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the August 26 twin suicide bombs, which killed scores of people, at Kabul airport on August 27, 2021

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the terrorist attack which killed over 100 people outside Kabul airport 

Mr Popal’s grief-stricken son Hidayat said he had travelled to Afghanistan in June to see his family and children.

‘Three of my sisters and one of my brothers live there and some of them have got married recently so he went to celebrate.

‘We didn’t expect the situation to get that bad. It’s always been bad but we didn’t expect this.’  

‘Our country has been ruined and people’s futures taken from them, and their lives.’

Mr Popal’s remains were found in an emergency room of a hospital in Kabul. Because of his injuries, his family in the UK were only shown a video of his feet and shoes. He has since been buried in Afghanistan in a ceremony attended by hundreds who knew him.

Judith Hirson, 67, a neighbour of Mr Popal in London, said: ‘He was a friendly man and just really lovely. Honest and hard-working too, the whole family are.

‘It’s such a sad situation for everyone, especially those who knew him.’

Ms Popal, who moved to the UK in 2014, attended the College of North West London and wants to become a computer scientist. 

She said her father had ‘given us everything’, was ‘loving’ and ‘supportive’, and had always helped her with assignments.

‘I think of my 21-year-old niece Harifa, who was excited to go to university and become a doctor, and I am so sad. She’s really scared now and with the Taliban she won’t be allowed to do anything,’ she said. 

Mohamed Niazi, 29, an Uber driver from Aldershot, Hampshire, was also among the British victims of Thursday’s attack. 

His cousin, Ghulam Husain Niazi, from the same town, said: ‘I was told he was shot rather than killed in the explosion.’

Mr Niazi had flown to Afghanistan to rescue his wife and children after the country fell to Taliban control. His cousin said one of Mr Niazi’s children was in hospital.  


Pictured left: Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family. Pictured right: One of Mr Niazi’s daughters. As of last night, his wife, youngest child and eldest daughter were still missing, according to the broadcaster, with his brother and survivor of the blast – Abdul Hamid – saying ‘I saw some children in the river’

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