While the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan ended our longest war, the future for thousands of Afghan people is still in limbo.
WPTV spoke to an Afghan family that was just granted asylum on the Treasure Coast.
The withdrawal in August 2021 was chaotic in Kabul as U.S. troops were leaving after about two decades.
Afghans who aided Americans were left behind, desperate to escape a country that returned to Taliban rule.
“They have no mercy for our people,” an Afghan man who is now living on the Treasure Coast.
People like him helped Americans for decades.
WPTV is not showing this man or his familys faces because their safety is still in jeopardy.
“I worked in a hospital with American friends that were Christian,” the man said.
Those actions put a Taliban target on his back.
“You were held and tortured by the Taliban, right?” immigration attorney Karen Mentor said.
“Yes, they beat me a lot because I believe in human rights,” the man said.
Mentor said finding safety was especially critical for one of the man’s daughters who was at risk of being taken by the Taliban.
“Gangs of Taliban soldiers go around house to house, and they knock on doors, and they look for girls as young as 12 and 13,” Mentor said. “They take them and force them into marriages and those families may or may not ever see them ever again.”
Mentor explained why her client was in danger.
“Dad was a target because he promoted girls’ education,” Mentor said. “The girl was a target because she’s been in school.”
Americans and a nonprofit helped him, his wife and four of their children escape Afghanistan about a month after the U.S. withdrawal.
“They were very, very lucky to be connected with Americans who were able to set the situation up to shepherd them out,” Mentor said.
The attorney helped move their application for asylum through a system burdened with backlogs.
But after nearly a year of waiting, the family held a big celebration after their asylum was granted.
“I’m really, really happy,” the man said.
The family knows how rare U.S. asylum can be for those who apply.
“Probably about 90% of asylum applications are denied,” Mentor said.
Still, thousands of Afghans allies to the U.S. are waiting and hoping for that same approval.
“They want to but its impossible, very difficult,” the man said.
The situation is making him more grateful to be putting down new roots in Florida.
“Do you want to become a citizen here someday?” Mentor asked him.
“I hope, I hope,” the man replied.
There is a bipartisan bill in the works called the Afghan Adjustment Act that would help some of the tens of thousands of Afghan allies secure permanent status here.
But if it does not pass, there is fear that these allies could risk deportation.