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Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed says she was 'hopeless' while fleeing Taliban

The 36-year-old pop star thought she was going to die while trying to flee the Taliban and said it's "a miracle" she was able to safely make it to Los Angeles.
/ Source: TODAY

Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed described the desperate scene at the airport as she felt "hopeless" while trying to flee Afghanistan with her husband during the Taliban's takeover of the country.

Sayeed, 36, is one of more than 48,000 people who have been evacuated on military and coalition flights since Aug. 14 after the Taliban rapidly seized power following the withdrawal of U.S. troops after 20 years.

The pop star, who has a British passport, went on a four-day journey through multiple countries that ended with her arriving safely in Los Angeles on Aug. 21.

"I was feeling that I'm going to die here, literally," she said in an interview with "Access Hollywood." "I was hopeless. This is like a miracle that we're getting out."

Sayeed described the chaos at the international airport in the nation's capital of Kabul as tens of thousands of Afghans are trying to find a way to leave the country.

Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed described a "hopeless" feeling as she fled Afghanistan following the takeover by the Taliban. Omar Sobhani / Reuters

"So many women were fainting, and they would just try to get them out of the crowd and there was no space, no space to even take them out, and they were just stuck there," she said.

At least 20 people have died in the past week at the airport while trying to escape, a NATO official told Reuters on Sunday. The dense crowds left many gasping for air, including a woman and her baby who were right near Sayeed.

"Small babies screaming, crying, women crying ... right now I have shivers on my hands talking about it," she said. "It was just unbelievable. The baby was screaming, and I was like, 'Oh my God, this baby is going to die any minute now.'"

The U.S. embassy has now moved to the airport and the State Department is telling people who aren't eligible for evacuation to stay away for their own safety. Sayeed described how close she came to being unable to leave the country.

"That night, it was apparently the last time that they would open the gate for somebody, and they wouldn't open it again," she said. "I was the last person to get in. I'm not sure if they made it, what happened."

Since arriving in Los Angeles, she has been in contact with family and friends remaining in Afghanistan and said they are "hopeless, absolutely hopeless."

Women were brutally repressed by the Taliban under their previous rule of the country from 1996-2001, and Sayeed said she still received threats even before their recent takeover because her public career made her a target. Pop music was banned by the Taliban in their previous regime.

Sayeed is now pleading for the U.S. government to help the people of Afghanistan.

"Taking a few thousand Civilians/American citizens out of Afghanistan is appreciated but it won’t solve the problem," she wrote on Instagram. "What about the millions who are left behind in total chaos?? Thousands of them displaced with no shelter, no food to eat and nowhere to go. What will happen to them?"

The U.S. government has set a deadline of Aug. 31 to finish its evacuations, and the Taliban has warned of "consequences" if that deadline is extended. Sayeed plans on continuing to advocate for the people of Afghanistan as the Taliban institutes a new government.

"I am trying to still work from here, spread the word and ask the world to help those innocent people," Sayeed said. "That's all I can do, and I'm not going to give up."