Afghan refugees express relief and sorrow upon arrival in the United States.

  • Afghan refugees expressed relief and sadness as they left Kabul and arrived in the United States.
  • Thousands of Afghans were recently evacuated from Afghanistan during the Taliban occupation.
  • “We came with joy,” a 31-year-old Afghan mother told Insider.

Rashida sits in a chair outside her hotel room, adapting to the hot weather of Northern Virginia – a change from the dry heat of Kabul. A sleeping child was resting on her chest, while her two other daughters, ages 6 and 14, were standing with her bright eyes. He watched his 11- and 12-year-old sons as they chased each other around the hotel parking lot.

She said she was relieved.

The 31-year-old mother fled Afghanistan with her children and husband just hours before the Taliban took control of Kabul August 15.

Rashida and her family arrived empty-handed on special immigrant visas issued by their husbands, who worked as translators in the US military for eight years.

“We are happy to come,” Rashida told Insider.

Like many Afghans, Rashida and her husband feared the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan during the summer US withdrawal.

The couple was particularly afraid that their children would be abducted by the Taliban to go to school, Rashida said. As a result, her children stayed home and missed the final exams of the school year.

Now she hopes to “stay home and let my kids go to school soon.”

Crowds at Kabul Airport

A large crowd of men gathered at the tarmac of Kabul Airport on August 16, 2021.

Voice of the Year / AFP by Getty

Rashida is among thousands of Afghan refugees who fled their country when the Taliban invaded the country. The United States has evacuated about 59,000 people from Kabul since August 14. White house. Afghan refugees are being transported from Kabul to bases in the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe, then to their resettlement destination.

For some, including Rashida, her new home is the United States. In recent days, Afghans have landed at Dolce International Airport outside Washington DC. Talked to internal refugees temporarily at a hotel in the area. Only their first names are used to protect them.

The refugees will be among thousands of others who recently arrived in the United States to support US efforts in the war in Afghanistan. They will be temporarily housed at military bases in Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and New Jersey, until their resettlement is expected in the country.

‘Our trouble is gone’

Masawir, 16, told Insider that he was grateful to have left Kabul and come to the United States with his parents and two younger siblings.

“Ever since we came here, our worries are over,” he said. “I’m very happy now. We weren’t safe there.”

Her father also received an SIV after working with the US military in Afghanistan for the past 10 years. An estimated 100,000 Afghan SIV applicants and their families need to be relocated to the United States, the International Refugee Assistant Project told Insider on Tuesday.

Masawir, who is learning English at a school in Kabul, said he is excited about his future. He wants to reunite with some of his cousins ​​who left Afghanistan years ago and moved to California, which has the largest Afghan population in the United States.

The teenager has no idea he will return to Kabul any time soon, given the panic surrounding the new Taliban government. I will stay here until Afghanistan gets its independence.

Mehr, an Afghan refugee who arrived in the United States on a US visa with his young daughter and wife, is no less worried about his life. Fighting through tears, she said she misses her parents and her 17-year-old brother, who lives in Kabul.

“If there’s peace, I want to go back,” Mehr, 26, told Insider.

During the war, Mehr worked for US military logistics operations. He said he made a living for his family – making good money, living in a five-story house, owning a car. Now in America, he said with a sigh, it has to start from the beginning.

Zabihullah Mujahid.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid holds a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 24, 2021.

Aaron Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The next Taliban government will bring uncertainty.

As soon as the Taliban came to power from 1996 to 2001, they imposed strict interpretations of Sharia law in Afghanistan. Some stricter laws included banning the education of women and girls and banning music and television.

Mehr said he prays that the future Taliban government will live up to its renewed commitment to guaranteeing the safety of Afghans and creating a better life for them.

“Hopefully they won’t be fools,” he said. “They should keep track of the achievements of the last 20 years.”

Mustafa, 32, who was serving as a financial assistant for US military operations in Afghanistan, is not optimistic. Since arriving in Washington last week, he has not been able to allay the fears of his family, who have recently received death threats from a militant group.

Mustafa told Insider that his brother, who delivered military supplies to US forces at Bagram, was “sleeping in a different place every night.”

The Taliban this week threatened to reject President Joe Biden’s August 31 extension to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. The warning comes at a critical time for Biden, who is under pressure to keep the United States in Afghanistan for the next seven days so that more Americans and Afghan refugees can be safely evacuated.

Although Rashida survived the ordeal, her parents are still in Kabul, and their chances of reunion are slim. Her six-year-old daughter told the insider that it was strange to move to a new place and that she missed her grandmother.

“If I think of Kabul, I start crying,” he said.

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