They fled in the dark of night, and for two days sped by motorcycle and foot to Kabul. Latifa and her family couldn’t trust anyone. Her husband had worked for the U.S. military, and they’d gotten word they would soon become Taliban targets. With their two children and her sister, Latifa and her husband moved quickly through the mountains.
Once they arrived in Afghanistan’s capital, the chaos at the airport was overwhelming. Members of the Taliban fired guns into the crowd and into the air. Linking hands, the family was carried by the weight of the crowd. She remembers a barbed wire fence ripping her skin and clothing.
Suddenly, the gate opened and the crowd surged forward. By the time she opened her eyes, Latifa, then five months pregnant, was inside the airport grounds. Her husband, kids, and sister were locked out on the other side.
READ MORE: How you can help Afghan refugees arriving in the U.S.
She waited for four hours, watching five American rescue flights take off for safety, hoping to reunite with her family. Finally, a security official gave her a choice: get killed by the Taliban or get on the plane. The latter meant leaving her family, including her young sons, behind.
“I can’t be happy because I’m still worried about my family. I’m worried that I still can’t work to make money for my family in Afghanistan,” said Latifa, who is being identified only by her first name to protect her family’s identity. She’s settled in Baton Rouge with her newborn daughter. Her family missed the birth of its newest child, and she was haunted by “what would happen if something happened to me during labor or delivery.” She doesn’t know when she will be reunited with her loved ones. “There is still a lot of uncertainty.”
“With each passing day, I become more hopeless. I just hope that one day I will see them again.”
About six months after that evacuation, about 84,600 Afghan nationals have arrived in the United States. Of those, more than 76,000 are Afghan nationals, and the remainder are U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. While those who have resettled gained physical security in a new country, many like Latifa face not only …….