HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Midstate family is home safe after escaping from Afghanistan. Their journey isn’t over yet though.
Waslat Wisaal and her husband Saifullah Ahmadi went with their daughter to visit family in Afghanistan weeks ago. Just hours after they reached Kabul, the Taliban took over.
“It was very very scary, especially having a six-month-old. It was a very challenging thing,” Wisaal said.
They knew they needed to get out and take their Afghan family members with them.
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“They were not happy to leave, but they didn’t have a choice,” Ahmadi said. “I explained many times that this is not going to be any life here and I promise you guys that they’re going to take out every one of you and slaughter you guys.”
Saifullah spent four years as a translator for the U.S. military and his father worked for the Afghan government. So he felt certain they’d be targets of the Taliban.
“I knew that if I was in Afghanistan I was one of them and my family was the rest after me,” Ahmadi said.
After multiple trips to the airport, they finally got on a plane to Qatar. The couple says Governor Wolf’s office helped them to coordinate every step of the way and ensured they could evacuate. A day after they left the deadly bombing happened at the airport.
“We are very lucky to get out,” Wisaal said.
Now she and her baby girl Amelia are safely back home in Harrisburg. But Saifullah and 10 of his relatives including his dad, brothers, and sisters aren’t in the Midstate yet.
“Right now I am in Wisconsin Cort McCoy Base, army base,” Ahmadi said.
He’s helping his family work with U.S. forces there to get their green cards.
“Make sure that all the process goes well so they can be legally in the state and they can start a new life the legal way,” Ahmadi said.
Their plan is to start a new life in the Midstate.
“It’s not that they wanted to leave. It’s not that it was easy for them to leave. They had to leave their home, their vehicles, their schools, their so many family members and they had to just decide to come and save themselves,” Wisaal said.
It’s not an easy transition, but they’re relieved to be safe.
“I have my family and everybody’s safe. I don’t have anything to be worried about back home,” Ahmadi said.
They’re hoping soon they’ll be together and that their relatives will be embraced by their new community.
“We just need to be willing to accept people, because that’s what the United States stands for. Ya know, we are the people,” Wisaal said.
Much of their extended family was left behind in Afghanistan. Saifullah has been in touch with them and says they tell him the Taliban has not changed. They continue to kill and abuse people, despite what they’re telling the world about their plans for peace and acceptance.