Arrival in Washington | Afghan refugees finally safe, but desperate

(Washington) “My two children are in Afghanistan and I am…. said Shima, unable to hold back her tears. Like dozens of other Afghan civilians, she is now safe in the US, but is determined to leave her daughters in Kabul under the control of the Taliban.

Posted on Aug 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

Agnes BUN Agence France-Presse

“My daughters are in Afghanistan and I are in America,” the 30-year-old mother repeated in tears, who landed with her husband at Dulles Airport near Washington on Monday.

“Life? Live? I’m dead, dead. I’m dead, ”she says desperately.

On her cell phone, she shows a photo of the two girls, aged 6 and 10, before boarding a bus that will take them to an accommodation near the airport, where they and their husband will be picked up.

Since the middle of the night, several dozen civilians who were evacuated from Afghanistan alone or with their families have landed near the federal capital as part of a global airlift.

In Kabul, civilians who wanted to flee the country – American citizens, Afghans who worked in the army, government or foreign armed forces – spent the past week in chaos and fear, trapped between the Taliban checkpoints and that of the Americans laid barbed army wire at the airport before it is eventually evacuated by plane.

“It was pretty dangerous at the airport,” Jan, an American who went to Afghanistan to see his family, told AFP.

“There were a lot of people there, all of them trying to leave the country for different reasons, because they wanted to be on the safe side,” explains the 21-year-old.

The Taliban have pledged not to take revenge on their former enemies, but according to a group of experts from the United Nations, the new masters of Kabul have sought “priority lists” of Afghans.

” To feel safe ”

Romal Haiderzada is one of the civilians who feared for his life.

“We worked with American soldiers on Bagram, so we didn’t feel safe in Afghanistan,” explains the 27-year-old young man.

As a holder of a special immigrant visa (SIV), he landed at Dulles Airport near Washington after passing American bases in Qatar and then Germany.

He thanked the US government for “finding solutions for people who had problems and making them feel better about themselves”.

Upon arrival, refugees are placed in reception centers or military bases while they wait to complete immigration procedures and undergo medical examinations.

You can then settle in the US with the support of local migrant aid organizations.

PHOTO JOSE LUIS MAGANA, AP

Upon arrival, refugees are placed in reception centers or military bases while they wait to complete immigration procedures and undergo medical examinations.

About 16,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan via Kabul Airport in the past 24 hours, the Pentagon said on Monday, and stepped up operations as the August 31 deadline approached.

A total of 42,000 people have been transferred from Afghanistan since July, 37,000 of them since the tightening of air evacuations on August 14, the day before the Taliban captured Kabul, said a Defense Ministry spokesman, John Kirby.

The Pentagon stressed on Monday that the goal would remain to withdraw all US forces from Kabul by August 31, although President Joe Biden on Sunday left the option to extend the US military presence beyond that date.

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