“Carl Sagan” is currently hiding in Peshawar, Pakistan. After the Taliban took over Afghanistan last summer, this freethinking, science-minded person knew that he could no longer stay in the country.
“My primary goal is to leave Afghanistan. To leave the country with my family,” Sagan said in Urdu (his comments have been translated). “Whatever country. One that has religious freedom, where the education is really good, countries like that.” Carl Sagan is not his real name
Carl admits that growing up he was a very keen and curious person who had a strong appetite for learning. His parents were instrumental in encouraging this part of him. “I love reading about [Albert] Einstein. All of his theories, all of his laws, I’ve read them all. He is my favourite scientist”
With the arrival of the Taliban, Carls’ time was up. He used to work a marketing job at a pharmaceutical company in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The American supported pre-takeover government was still a sort of Islamic state, albeit one that had a lighter touch than the Taliban.
Sagan would conduct religious debates with his colleagues over just about any question. He would even venture into more taboo subjects. “I would even debate them about the LGBTQ. That every human being can choose who they want. It is not mandatory that a man should be with a woman.”
His colleagues knew what sort of a thinker he was. A distributor in his company would be the one to put him in danger. This individual’s nephew is the emir of one of the municipal districts in the country with connections to the Taliban. “He started threatening me.” The Taliban came to his office and sat in his chair. “They said it is an Islamic government now and everyone will be examined.”
Carl in desperation left for Kabul, leaving his wife and two kids behind in Jalalabad. He changed his phone number. He told his colleagues that he had left Afghanistan even when he was hiding in Kabul. He didn’t stay for long in that city, though. The Taliban came looking for him there also.
He now awaits aid in Peshawar.