A U.S. green card holder from Richmond, Va., And his family are stranded in Afghanistan and said America “lied to us” and left them behind after promising they would be evacuated, the Associated Press.
As US evacuation efforts in Afghanistan were underway in his final days, Javed Habibi was receiving phone calls from the US government telling him not to worry and that his wife and four daughters would be evacuated. However, Habibi remains in Kabul with hundreds of US citizens and green card holders after the last evacuation flight departs from Afghanistan.
“What does this green card mean? Nothing. They didn’t do anything,” said Habibi, who is an electrician. Her special immigration visa has allowed her to live in Virginia since 2015.
Habibi and his family visited Afghanistan for the first time since 2019 on June 22 and were due to return to the United States on August 31.
For more Associated Press reporting, see below.
Habibi was told to stay home and not to worry that they would be evacuated.
Late Monday, however, his heart sank when he learned that the last American flights had left Kabul airport, followed by the jerky sound of Taliban gunfire, celebrating what they saw as their victory over America.
Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, would not address the individual cases, but said all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who were unable to secure evacuation flights or were stranded from Another way had been contacted individually over the past 24 hours and asked to expect further information on routes once these have been arranged.
“We will give them direct personalized instructions on what to do, when to do it and how the US government thinks we are best placed to help them do it,” the Department spokesperson added. ‘State, Ned Price.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the evacuation effort despite scenes of thousands trapped outside the gates of Kabul airport. He said between 100 and 200 remained in Afghanistan, promising that any American who wanted to leave Afghanistan would be withdrawn.
For some of those who remain, however, the trauma of trying for nearly two weeks to get on an American plane is still heartbreaking.
Around August 18, Habibi said he received an email from the US government saying his family, all green card holders except their youngest, who has a US passport, would be evacuated.
Later emails told him he should take his family to the airport. He obeyed, but the mad mob of people prevented him from approaching the portal on his first two attempts.
Her daughter, Madina, who at 15 has impeccable English and is the spokesperson for the family, said she and her younger sister were almost trampled on at the airport. The family replied, “It’s too dangerous. We can’t get into the crowd,” she said.
The emails kept coming in, saying they had to get to the airport, she said.
As of August 25, the emails had been replaced with phone calls from Arlington, Va., Madina said. The callers, who identified themselves as from the United States Embassy, ââtold the family to stay home and that the government was aware of their location, she said, speaking to the name of his father.
Habibi said he made four or five more attempts, even recruiting friends and relatives to sneak into the crowd with family, forming a sort of cordon of protection. The youngest of the four daughters, Dunya, is 2 years old and was born in the United States.
Habibi said that on at least two occasions he came close enough to the door that his passport was scanned but was refused entry. He shouted at the American soldiers, brandishing his documents.
Madina, who has spoken to most of the callers from Virginia, said she told them the family are from Richmond. Even as the evacuations came to an end, Madina said a caller had promised, “We’re going to get you out. You’re not going to get stuck. Don’t worry. We know where you are.”
Habibi said they even pledged to pick them up in a car.
âThey lied. They didn’t do anything,â he said.
Habibi says he was not threatened by the Taliban and that no one disturbed him but he is still scared. Horrific reports and social media posts convinced him the Taliban will kill him, he said, although he admitted he didn’t know anyone.
“I’m just scared. I’m following the news,” he said.
He said he knows many families, some with US green cards, who remain in Afghanistan.
Madina said Marcia Vigar Perez, a teacher at Dumbarton Elementary School, her former school, started a prayer chain for her safe return.
âEvery day they call me,â she said.
Another Afghan who asked to be identified only as Ajmal, fearing reprisals, said he, his two brothers and their families – 16 people in total – had been granted emergency immigrant visas to be evacuated after another brother in Virginia submitted the documents.
Ajmal posted emails from the US government saying “please go to Hamid Karzai International Airport” and use the gate to Camp Sullivan, not the civilian entrance, although he was also warned that the gate could change every day.
He said he and his relatives made it to the airport, but heavy Taliban gunfire and the crushing of thousands of people sent them home. On one occasion, he said he received an email telling him and his family that they would be picked up from a location near the airport at 3 a.m. He and his family waited on the street until 9 a.m., but no one came, he said.
His brother, Wais, a US citizen living in Virginia, said he petitioned senators and filled out paperwork to bring his family to America.
âI am frustrated and angryâ with US officials, Wais said. “All the time they say, ‘We’re working on it, we’re working on it,’ but then nothing.”