Afghan refugees who now call Georgia home reflect on their harrowing escape

Afghan people; one year later
Afghan people; one year later(CBS46)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:07 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46)- It’s been one year since the fall of Afghanistan. As some of the last helicopters were leaving Kabul, the Taliban was marching in to take over the final portion of the country it needed for total control. Since then, thousands of Afghan people have found new lives in Georgia.

Three days of chaos and trauma. It was a harrowing escape for Moeen Amini and his family. They say they’ll never forget that pivotal time in their lives.

“They were stopping us at each checkpoint and asking us who are you and what are you doing? What documents do you have? So, I was like should I carry this documents myself or should I throw them out the window,” said Moeen Amini.

After several attempts, they eventually made to safety inside the gates of Kabul Airport. But some of his family couldn’t escape. Amini says on this year anniversary of the Taliban’s official takeover of Afghanistan, they’re left with mixed emotions.

“So really like I don’t have words. What to say or what to celebrate. Either I should celebrate our black day or either I should celebrate our independence day,” said Amini.

Amini and his family are among more than 1,700 Afghan refugees that eventually landed in Georgia. Many of them showed up with just the clothes on their backs. Members of the Congregation Or Hadash synagogue in Sandy Springs helped to find them a home.

“His family arrived and placed in an apartment in Stone Mountain, but it was totally unfurnished. So, we were given two day to scramble to reach out through social media our congregation,” said Renee Videlefsky of Congregation Or Hadash.

Today, like so many other Afghan refugees, Amini has a job. He’s able to provide for his family and help raise his nephews whose parents couldn’t escape. He says he’s hopeful again.

“I really don’t have the words to say how appreciative or how to say thanks to the government and the people and the community who are here,” said Amini.

The next step for Amini and his family is securing permanent residency in the United States. New bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Congress will help to speed up the residency process for Afghan refugees who played a key role in helping the U.S. in Afghanistan. The International Rescue Committee is an organization that is helping to resettle refugees, including those from Afghanistan. They’re encouraging Georgians to contact their local representatives in Congress to ask them to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act.