Even successful the last days of Washington’s chaotic airlift successful Afghanistan, Javed Habibi was getting telephone calls from the U.S. authorities promising that the greenish paper holder from Richmond, Virginia, his woman and their 4 daughters would not beryllium near behind.
He was told to enactment location and not worry, that they would beryllium evacuated.
Late Monday, however, his bosom sank arsenic helium heard that the final U.S. flights had near Kabul's airport, followed by the blistering staccato dependable of Taliban gunfire, celebrating what they saw arsenic their triumph implicit America.
“They lied to us,” Habibi said of the U.S. government. He is among hundreds of American citizens and greenish paper holders stranded successful the Afghan capital.
Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of authorities for governmental affairs, would not code idiosyncratic cases but said each U.S. citizens and lawful imperishable residents who could not get evacuation flights oregon were different stranded had been contacted individually successful the past 24 hours and told to expect further accusation astir routes retired erstwhile those person been arranged.
“We volition pass straight to them personalized instructions connected what they should do, erstwhile they should bash it, and however the United States authorities feels we are champion positioned to assistance them bash that," added State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the evacuation effort contempt the scenes of thousands of radical jammed extracurricular the gates astatine Kabul's airport. He said betwixt 100 and 200 remained successful Afghanistan, promising that immoderate American who wants to permission Afghanistan would beryllium taken out.
For immoderate of those who remain, however, the trauma of trying for astir 2 weeks to get onto a U.S. level is inactive harrowing.
Habibi, an electrician who has lived successful Richmond since 2015 connected a peculiar migration visa, had returned to Afghanistan for a sojourn connected June 22 — the archetypal clip his household had been backmost since 2019. Their instrumentality formation was to person been Aug. 31.
About Aug. 18, Habibi said helium got an email from the U.S. authorities saying that his household — each greenish paper holders but for their youngest, who has a U.S. passport — would beryllium evacuated.
Subsequent emails said helium should instrumentality his household to the airport. He obeyed, but the huffy crush of radical prevented him from getting adjacent the gross connected his archetypal 2 attempts.
His daughter, Madina, who astatine 15 has flawless English and serves arsenic the household spokesperson, said she and her younger sister were astir trampled astatine the airport. The household wrote back, “It's excessively dangerous. We can't spell into the crowd,” she said.
The emails kept arriving, saying they should spell to the airport, she said.
In 2017, determination were 10 times arsenic galore girls going to schoolhouse successful Afghanistan compared to 2003 - erstwhile it was astir 3% of the nation's girls. With the Taliban taking over, teacher Jaala Shaw fears for students and doesn't privation them to autumn down successful their education.
By Aug. 25, the emails had been replaced by telephone calls from Arlington, Virginia, Madina said. The callers, who identified themselves arsenic being from the U.S. Embassy, told the household to enactment astatine location and that the authorities was alert of their location, she said, speaking for her father.
Habibi said helium inactive made 4 oregon 5 much attempts, adjacent recruiting friends and relatives to wade into the assemblage with the family, forming a benignant of protective cordon. The youngest of the 4 girls, Dunya, is 2 and was calved successful the U.S.
Habibi said that connected astatine slightest 2 occasions, helium got adjacent capable to the gross that his passport was scanned but was refused entry. He shouted astatine the U.S. soldiers, waving his documents.
“What does this greenish paper adjacent mean? Nothing. They did nothing,” helium said.
Madina, who spoke to astir of the callers from Virginia, said she told them the household was from Richmond. Even arsenic the evacuations came to an end, Madina said 1 caller promised, "We are going to get you out. You are not going to get stuck. Don't worry. We cognize wherever you are."
Habibi said they adjacent pledged to prime them up successful a car.
“They lied. They did nothing," helium said.
Habibi says helium hasn't been threatened by the Taliban and that nary 1 has bothered him but helium is inactive afraid. News stories and horrifying posts connected societal media person him convinced that the Taliban volition termination him, helium said, though helium admitted helium doesn't cognize of anyone being targeted.
“I’m conscionable afraid. I travel the news,” helium said.
"I volition marque definite that I basal with you. I volition bash immoderate I tin to bring you to safety." Ismail Khan says his relatives successful Afghanistan are doing OK and successful hiding from the Taliban. But different families are successful information and privation to travel to the U.S. soon, though they look a agelong paperwork process. "John McCain was involved, helium enactment my paperwork through, and it took 4 years to get here," says Khan.
He said helium knows of galore families, immoderate with U.S. greenish cards, who stay successful Afghanistan.
Madina said Marcia Vigar Perez, a teacher astatine Dumbarton Elementary, her erstwhile school, started a supplication concatenation for her harmless return.
“Every time they telephone me,” she said.
Another Afghan autochthonal who asked to beryllium identified lone arsenic Ajmal, fearing retribution, said he, his 2 brothers and their families — 16 radical successful each — were granted exigency migrant visas to beryllium evacuated aft different member successful Virginia submitted the paperwork.
Ajmal displayed emails from the U.S. authorities that said “please marque your mode to the Hamid Karzai International Airport" and usage the Camp Sullivan Gate, not the civilian entrance, though helium besides was warned that the gross could alteration daily.
He said helium and his relatives went to the airport, but dense gunfire by the Taliban and the crush of thousands of radical sent them backmost home. On 1 occasion, helium said helium received an email telling him and his household they would beryllium picked up astatine a spot adjacent the airdrome astatine 3 a.m. He and his household waited connected the thoroughfare until 9 a.m., but nary 1 came, helium said.
His member Wais, a U.S. national surviving successful Virginia, said helium had petitioned senators and filled retired paperwork to get his household to America.
“I americium frustrated and angry" astatine U.S. officials, Wais said. “All the clip they say, ‘We are moving connected it, we are moving connected it,' but past — nothing.”
“A caller section of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday. “It’s 1 successful which we volition pb with our diplomacy.… A caller diplomatic ngo has begun.”
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee successful Washington contributed.