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  • Nataliia Halchynska

Your Stories: Afghan Family of Five

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

In August 2021, the world witnessed a historic moment as the last United States forces withdrew from Afghanistan, marking the end of nearly two decades of military presence in the region (source). The departure came amidst a complex geopolitical landscape, with implications that rippled far beyond the borders of the war-torn nation. Now, Afghanistan is grappling with an acute humanitarian crisis, intensified by a convergence of factors, including the withdrawal of international troops, the rapid takeover by the Taliban, and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government (source). Responding to the growing needs of the Afghan people, organizations like the Humanitarian Relief Project (HRP) are playing a crucial role in addressing the pressing challenges.

Judith Wood, the renowned attorney and advocate for human rights, reflects on one of the cases she was able to assist through this turbulent time: "Shortly after the U.S. military troops withdrew from Afghanistan I was contacted by a family in California. In this family, there was a woman; a U.S. citizen who had been granted a Special Immigrant Visa and was now given permanent legal status. Her parents were in Kabul, along with her three sisters. We worked tirelessly to get the family on a plane out of Kabul."

It took several attempts before they were successfully evacuated. The sheer volume of people seeking refuge made it difficult to arrange flights. The substantial amount of paperwork and concerns about terrorist attacks added to an already significant challenge for people to reach the airport through the Taliban's checkpoints. The airport in Kabul witnessed scenes of chaos, with thousands of Afghans attempting to flee the country, fearing persecution under the Taliban regime.

"They were flown to Albania where they remained until December 2022. Recently, I am happy to report, her parents have arrived in the United States and have been granted Lawful Permanent Resident status. In the last year, we were able to bring the three sisters to the US, and they have already been granted Lawful Permanent Resident status as well. We are overjoyed that the parents have arrived and are safe"

While celebrating the successful evacuation of some family members, Miss Wood's ongoing efforts to assist many more cases like this. As the global community grapples with the aftermath of these historic events, stories like these serve as a poignant reminder of the ongoing commitment required to address the complex and pressing needs of the Afghan people, as well as the US policies towards aiding people in need.

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