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 undertaking in Afghanistan when the Taliban despatched a written loss of life menace to his dwelling, forcing him to make a heart-wrenching determination: He wouldn’t return to his spouse and two younger sons and as an alternative would search asylum and attempt to convey them to the US.
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 preventing ever since to be reunited together with his sons, who are actually 9 and 11, and are transferring from house-to-house, residing 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 legal professionals are engaged on his behalf, filed a lawsuit in a federal court docket in San Francisco towards Secretary of State Antony Blinken, alleging the administration failed in its authorized obligations underneath the Afghan Allies Safety Act to assist his household regardless of his work for the U.S. authorities through the 20-year struggle there.
“The one factor that I need is only one hug” from my children, 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 kids 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 every day together with his sons both by 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 received no response. He additionally contacted his California lawmakers.
Mohammad was accepted for a particular immigrant visa in January and utilized the following month for his sons, requesting that their visa purposes be expedited as a result of they’re in “imminent hazard.” Their purposes are nonetheless pending.
The lawsuit states that “eradicating his kids from Afghanistan, the place they’re in every day peril, and reuniting them with their solely remaining father or mother is important to their survival and wellbeing.”
“At this level the federal government has identified since mid-August at minimal that these children are alone and in critical 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 among 1000’s of Afghans who labored for the U.S. authorities in Afghanistan and have been compelled to depart behind shut members of the family to have the ability to get to security. Many are nonetheless preventing to be reunited with them. The administration has offered no figures for what number of particular immigrant visa candidates and their members of the family 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, based on 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 lots of these advances could vanish underneath the brand new Taliban authorities.
He mentioned he additionally desires them to see “due to my loyal service to the US,” they’ve the possibility to come back to a very good 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 doable? Are they ever going to be reunited with me right here?'” he mentioned.
This story has been up to date to appropriate the final title of the U.S. secretary of state. He’s Antony Blinken, not Bilken.
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