Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Atique Sharifi

Atique Sharifi fled Afghanistan after the Taliban murdered his parents. The Islamists caught up with him, the last surviving man of his family, on the Picadilly Line of the Tube in London on July 7. He was 24.

The London Times:

Atique Sharifi was the only Afghan national to be killed in the London bombings and the last of the victims to be formally identified.

He came to Britain in January 2002 to make a new life after his parents were killed by the Taliban when he was in his teens. He had been granted exceptional leave to remain in the UK.

Initially unable to speak a word of English, Sharifi had been studying at West Thames College since September 2002, funded by the Learning and Skills Council. There he had excelled in his language studies. His lecturer, Harminder Ubhie, remembers him as a “highly motivated, dedicated and ambitious” student who continued to turn up for classes even as others dropped away.

Sharifi was planning to continue with his studies, and was due to embark on an IT course at West Thames College in September. He was also planning to re-sit his driving test next month, having passed his theory test with flying colours.

Thalia Marriott, principal of West Thames College, said: “The deep irony of this tragic event is that Atique had left his native Afghanistan to seek safety in the UK, only to find his fate at the hands of extremists here.”

He shared a flat in Hounslow, West London, with three other Afghans, and worked in a pizza takeaway. Any spare cash was sent home to his younger sister in Kabul. He had also saved enough from his small wages to purchase his own computer.

Sharifi is believed to have spent the night of July 6 with friends in North London, and was returning to West London when he was caught in the blast on the Piccadilly Line between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations.

Sharifi had some distant relatives in London, but what remains of his immediate family are back home in Afghanistan. On Wednesday the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, placed a floral tribute of white roses in memory of Sharifi at the garden of remembrance at King’s Cross.


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