By JULIE WATSON, Related Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Afghan man was attending a convention in California as a part of his job for a U.S.-government funded venture in Afghanistan when the Taliban despatched a written dying risk to his house, forcing him to make a heart-wrenching resolution: He wouldn’t return to his spouse and two younger sons and as a substitute would search asylum and attempt to convey them to the USA.
Two years later, Mohammad mentioned he regrets leaving them, and wished he had by no means labored for the U.S. authorities given the value he has paid.
As Mohammad tried to get visas for his household, his spouse collapsed in 2020 and died of a coronary heart assault whereas the Taliban threatened them. Mohammad, who lives in California, has been combating ever since to be reunited together with his sons, who are actually 9 and 11, and are shifting from house-to-house, dwelling in hiding with their grandmother and uncle, he mentioned. He requested that solely his first title be used to guard them.
On Thursday, the Worldwide Refugee Help Undertaking, whose attorneys are engaged on his behalf, filed a lawsuit in a federal courtroom in San Francisco towards Secretary of State Antony Bilken, alleging the administration failed in its authorized obligations beneath the Afghan Allies Safety Act to assist his household regardless of his work for the U.S. authorities throughout the 20-year warfare there.
“The one factor that I would like is only one hug” from my youngsters, Mohammad mentioned.
Mohammad mentioned he has repeatedly requested the U.S. authorities for assist. He contacted the State Division in August after bullets pierced the house the place his sons have been hiding earlier than the Taliban took management of the nation. He requested for his youngsters to be evacuated because the U.S. navy carried out one of many largest airlifts in historical past, however they have been left behind.
The State Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Mohammad communicates day by day together with his sons both via calls or texts.
His youngest has damaged down crying, asking, “Dad, are they going to kill me?”
“What can I say?” Mohammad asks.
He despatched one other letter to the State Division on Sept. 9 asking that his sons be granted humanitarian parole, however once more he mentioned he bought no response. He additionally contacted his California lawmakers.
Mohammad was permitted for a particular immigrant visa in January and utilized the following month for his sons, requesting that their visa functions be expedited as a result of they’re in “imminent hazard.” Their functions are nonetheless pending.
The lawsuit states that “eradicating his youngsters from Afghanistan, the place they’re in day by day peril, and reuniting them with their solely remaining dad or mum is crucial to their survival and wellbeing.”
“At this level the federal government has recognized since mid-August at minimal that these youngsters are alone and in severe hazard, they usually did not take any motion to guard them,” mentioned lawyer Alexandra Zaretsky of the New York-based Worldwide Refugee Help Undertaking.
Zaretsky mentioned Mohammad is one in every of 1000’s of Afghans who labored for the U.S. authorities in Afghanistan and have been compelled to depart behind shut relations to have the ability to get to security. Many are nonetheless combating to be reunited with them. The administration has offered no figures for what number of particular immigrant visa candidates and their relations are nonetheless caught in Afghanistan a month after the U.S. withdrew its troops, and it has but to take substantial motion to guard them, in keeping with the lawsuit.
Mohammad mentioned he desires his sons to know that his work in selling girls’s rights in Afghanistan for a program funded by the U.S. authorities was price it, even when a lot of these advances might vanish beneath the brand new Taliban authorities.
He mentioned he additionally desires them to see “due to my loyal service to the USA,” they’ve the possibility to return to an excellent nation just like the U.S. the place “your future is assured” they usually can get a “good training and different rights that human beings ought to have.”
He tries to encourage them not to surrender, although he’s shedding religion in his phrases.
“I am giving them hope every time I’m speaking to them, however I’m additionally pondering, ‘However is that this even potential? Are they ever going to be reunited with me right here?'” he mentioned.
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