After Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, refugee fears for family

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:03 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The scenes playing out at the Kabul airport show chaos and desperation.

Afghans looking to flee the country after the Taliban’s ascension to power have been seen on the runways, looking to secure passage out of the country.

RELATED STORY | Kabul airport plunges into chaos as Taliban patrols Afghanistan capital

For Columbia resident and Afghan refugee Mohammad Sharafoddin, there’s a feeling of fear with the new regime.

Sharafoddin said he fled Kabul with family members in 2016. He said his family lived in several Middle Eastern countries before being approved as a U.S. refugee in June.

He spoke with his brother translating at times. He told WIS the Taliban’s violence and foreseeable victory forced his family’s exit.

“I guess Afghanistan go to dangerous days,” he said.

“All people guess like this.”

He said he fears for his family who are still in the country, he grew emotional when he talked about his sisters

“What happened to women, what happened to girl? Taliban is dangerous, Taliban are dangerous. All the time Taliban liars. It’s hard to explain, last night my sisters called me. Can you help me?” he said.

He went on to state: ”But I haven’t....what can we do? What I can help, I don’t know.”

U.S. evacuation flights out of the Kabul airport are currently scheduled to end on Aug. 31.

Sharafoddin and his family have been assisted in the United States by Lutheran Services Carolinas.

The organization claims to have helped relocate and assist six Afghan evacuation refugee cases in the Carolinas, with five more scheduled.

Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services Bedrija Jazic said one family from the evacuation has been relocated to the Midlands, with another on the way.

She said it’s unclear how many more the Midlands could become home to.

“It really depends on how many will be able to come here and whether they have families or relatives here in South Carolina,” she said.

All the refugees are vetted by the State Department, tested for COVID-19, and receive their first vaccination before arrival.

Jazic said one of the main challenges with assisting refugee families is establishing housing and finding volunteers to assist with the transition to the new country.

“The goal is, for the family is to become independent, self-sufficient, and be able to organize their life and find South Carolina being their new home,” she said.

You can look into ways to help Lutheran Family Services at this link.

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