Casey Gannon | Associated Press
Kabul, Afghanistan-Even in the last few days of Washington’s chaotic airlift to Afghanistan, Javid Habibi received a call from the US government promising not to let the green card holder, his wife and them from Richmond, Virginia The four daughters are left behind.
He was told to stay at home and don’t worry about them being evacuated.
However, later on Monday, when he heard that the last batch of American flights had left Kabul Airport, his heart sank, and then the Taliban gunshots rang intermittently to celebrate their victory over the United States.
“They lied to us,” Habibie said of the US government. He is one of hundreds of American citizens and green card holders stranded in the Afghan capital.
The Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland (Victoria Nuland) will not handle individual cases, but said that all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who were unable to take evacuation flights or otherwise stranded have been contacted separately in the past 24 hours, and Was told to wait about once the route is arranged.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price added: “We will directly convey personalized instructions to them about what they should do, when they should do it, and the U.S. government believes that we are best able to help them do this.”
Although thousands of people were blocked outside the gate of Kabul Airport, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken appreciated the evacuation efforts. He said that between 100 and 200 people remained in Afghanistan and promised that any American who wanted to leave Afghanistan would be taken away.
However, for some people who stayed, the trauma of trying to board a US plane for nearly two weeks is still painful.
Habibi is an electrician who has lived in Richmond on a special immigrant visa since 2015. He returned to Afghanistan on June 22 for a visit. This is the first time his family has returned since 2019. Their return flight was originally scheduled for August 31.
Around August 18, Habibi said he received an email from the US government stating that his family — all green card holders, except for their youngest holder of a US passport — would be evacuated. The subsequent e-mail stated that he should take his family to the airport. He obeyed, but people’s crazy squeeze prevented him from approaching the gate in the first two attempts.
His daughter, Medina, is 15 years old and speaks English fluently. She is the family spokesperson. She said that she and her sister were almost trampled on at the airport. The family wrote back saying: “It’s too dangerous. We can’t get into the crowd,” she said.
She said that emails kept arriving, saying they should go to the airport.
Madina said that as of August 25, the email had been replaced by a phone call from Arlington, Virginia. She said the caller who claimed to be from the US embassy told the family to stay home and the government knew their location, she said on behalf of her father.
Habibi said that he still made four or five attempts, and even recruited relatives and friends, wading into the crowd with his family, forming a cordon.Dunya, the youngest of the four girls, was 2 years old and was born in the United States
Habibi said that on at least two occasions, he was close enough to the gate that his passport was scanned but denied entry. He waved the documents and yelled at the American soldiers.
“What does this green card mean? No. They did nothing,” he said.
Madina talked to most callers from Virginia, and she said she told them the family was from Richmond. At the end of the evacuation, Medina said that a caller promised: “We will let you out. You will not be stuck. Don’t worry. We know where you are.”
Habibi said that they even promised to pick them up by car.
“They lied. They did nothing,” he said.
Habibi said he was not threatened by the Taliban and no one disturbed him, but he was still afraid. He said that news reports and terrible posts on social media convinced him that the Taliban would kill him, even though he admitted that he did not know anyone had been targeted.
“I’m just scared. I follow the news,” he said.
He said he knows many families who have stayed in Afghanistan, some of whom hold U.S. green cards.
Medina said that Marcia Vigar Perez, a teacher at her former school, Dumbarton Elementary, initiated a prayer chain for her safe return.
“They call me every day,” she said.
Another native of Afghanistan who requested to be identified only as Ajmal feared retaliation. He said that after another brother in Virginia submitted documents, he, his two brothers and their family (16 people in total) received Emergency immigration visas can be evacuated.
Ajmal showed an email from the US government that read “Please go to Hamid Karzai International Airport” and used the Sullivan Camp gate instead of the civilian entrance, although he was also warned that the gate would be changed every day.
He said he and his relatives went to the airport, but fierce Taliban artillery fire and thousands of people crushed them back home. Once, he said he received an email telling him and his family that they would pick them up at a location near the airport at 3 am. He and his family waited on the street until 9 o’clock in the morning, but no one came, he said.
His brother Weiss is a U.S. citizen living in Virginia. He said he has petitioned the senator and filled out paperwork to send his family to the United States.
Weiss said, “I feel frustrated and angry with US officials.” “They always say,’We are working hard, we are working hard,’ but then-nothing.”
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed.