US Citizens of Afghan descent Help Other Afghans Get Out of the Country

“I was evacuated from Afghanistan which was then invaded by the Soviets. My family and I arrived in the US in the 90’s. I arrived earlier than my family.”

Aleena Jun Nawabi suffered severe burns when she arrived in the US.

“I don’t remember exactly what happened. I asked my mother about it, but at that time she was still traumatized by watching her son burn.”

For years, he could not leave the hospital. He went to school, celebrated birthdays and even helped decorate the Christmas tree at the hospital.

Currently, Nawabi works at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group in the US. There, he did everything to help more people leave Afghanistan, which is now under Taliban rule. For him, there was no winner in the war in his hometown.

“There are a lot of families that we helped evacuate. Now, there are 147 people on my list, and each one knows about CAIR San Diego,” he said.

Currently, it is not possible to obtain a passport in Afghanistan or obtain a visa to leave for the US. The only way to get any documentation is to fill out a form online – but internet access in Afghanistan is very limited too.

Afghan refugees attend an education class.  (Photo: AP)

Afghan refugees attend an education class. (Photo: AP)

Nawabi is doing everything in her power to help American brothers and families still living in Afghanistan. He also tried to temporarily accommodate those who managed to escape.

“There are several children coming. We have little toys for them, for their creativity…” said Nawabi.

Nawabi is grateful that she can now help, considering that she is from Afghanistan and still remembers very clearly what she had to go through as a child there. It’s as if her job now is an attempt to save girls her age. [rd]

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