Americans in Afghanistan face the difficult choice of splitting their families

When CBS News first met her American mother, Angela, in Afghanistan, she said she was visiting her family in August when the government collapsed and the Taliban came to power. She repeatedly said she was afraid of her life.

“This is my passport. I don’t know if you can see it,” Angela said, holding her blue American passport over the camera. “”We are trapped in Afghanistan. We have been here for over three and a half months. ”

Angela fought for hours to pass through the gate before suicide bombers attacked the crowd as the last U.S. military flight departed the country in late August and heightened despair outside Kabul Airport. Say it. She ran away from the city and began to hide.

“”There is no escape route. I don’t know what to do. ”

Then a group of American strangers united and volunteered for their time and expertise to avoid bureaucratic blocks.

“Angela may not have much time. Her family may not have much time,” said August while volunteering for a temporary evacuation campaign based in a hotel in Washington, DC. Brian Kinsella, an Army veteran who first heard about Angela, said.

Kinsella was in contact with Angela almost every day.

“When I hear her family and their children screaming in the background, I actually find a way to take Angela out, take out the family, and use it as a framework to take out more people. I have the power to try, “he said.

In late September, Angela said the US State Department contacted her in Afghanistan and was hiding with her 12-year-old US-born child, Afghan mother, and Afghan brother. The State Department said they might have a plane.

“They called me. They know where I am. They know my situation. I explained it to them many times,” she said at the time.

But Angela said the State Department told her she couldn’t help her mother or her brother board the plane because they weren’t American citizens.

It’s easy to say, “Put yourself in Angela’s position. I have a blue passport, but you don’t, so will I leave?”

CBS News spoke to a second family in Afghanistan who faced a similar dilemma. The green card holder’s father said he sent his wife and American-born son back to the Gulf countries earlier this year to help older parents in Afghanistan and an extended family, including a niece under the age of six. Permanent residents also said they were afraid of their safety and worked as an interpreter for US military special operations for six years.

As Angela’s proceedings stalled, Kinsella was assisted by prominent New York City law firms Debeboise and Primpton.

“We do this free service,” said Floriane Lavaud, a lawyer for the company. “That means we’re giving our time free to help Angela and her family.”

Lavaud and her team have edited a 118-page file to allow Angela to apply for emergency entry into the United States for the benefit of her Afghan brothers. This is a process known as humanitarian parole.Her mother had already applied for immigration to the United States

“Afghanistan does not have US consulates, so people applying for humanitarian parole must actually go to third countries. Before they actually enter the United States, they must go to the US consulates of these third countries. There is, “said Mr. Labeau.

Afghanistan’s uneven WiFi shortened a CBS News interview with Angela in early October as she said she left only hope and faith.

“God can hear our voice,” Angela said. “He will support us. He will take us to a safer place.”

Recently, after another group of volunteers got together to scramble a flight from Afghanistan, all the parts fell into place. The flight was not funded by the US government.

Angela and her family flew to a country in the Middle East, where mothers and siblings filed documents and were scrutinized by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to inquiries from CBS News about Angela’s case, the State Department did not specifically address her case or any policy that could divide a family like her. The State Department said in a statement that American citizens were their priority and pressured the Taliban to allow those who want to leave Afghanistan to do so.

“Our commitment to US citizens, legal permanent residents, and others with whom we have special commitments has not changed,” the statement said. “US citizens continue to be a top priority. If US citizens and their close relatives decide to leave Afghanistan, they are working on a case-by-case basis to help them leave Afghanistan. We do not provide departure support, or resettlement in the United States for an extended family of US citizens. “

Americans in Afghanistan face the difficult choice of splitting their families

Source link Americans in Afghanistan face the difficult choice of splitting their families

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