NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A local woman who escaped Afghanistan a few years ago says she fears for the safety of her family, who are still in the Middle Eastern country now under the Taliban’s control.
“We decided to leave our jobs. My husband did the same. We want to come here so we can have a safe life for our children.”
Fatima, once a citizen of Afghanistan, has been in America for six years. She agreed to do an interview under the condition that we did not show her face.
"My husband worked with the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, so we came through the SIV visas." Fatima said.
She says family members still in Afghanistan tried to escape after the Taliban took control of Kabul.
"They [my family] wanted to go to see if they could get out of there but after the suicide attack at the airport, they didn’t go to the airport. No one is safe right now. My brother is a civil engineer and he works a lot and implemented a lot of their projects with foreigners, so he feels very unsafe. He doesn’t know what the Taliban will do," Fatima said.
Fatima says it’s hard to watch everything that has transpired in Afghanistan within the last three weeks and worries about her parents, brothers and other family members who are still there.
"For me, since I have my family over there, it’s very painful to watch. They are struggling and suffering."
Fatima tells News 3 reporter Leondra Head that neither she nor her family trusts the Taliban.
"No one trusts the Taliban. They are the same Taliban, however, they say to the media they have changed," she said.
She says she’s been in constant contact with her family back in Afghanistan.
"They have access to the internet, and I’m so glad. So, I have been in contact with them on Facebook. We have talked a lot."
Programs like the Commonwealth Catholic Charities are helping Afghanistan refugees settle in America.
"We’ve received several since the evacuation started. CCC has three offices. Between the three offices, we’ve received 120 Afghans," said Kristen Larcher, the director of operations for Hampton Roads refugee resettlement and immigration services for Commonwealth Catholic Charities.
Larcher says refugees have been placed in apartments.
"We’re able to assist with refugee housing at the beginning of the first few months," Larcher said.
Larcher says their main goal is to give refugees a sense of safety.
"As soon as they come, we help them get their Social Security numbers. Once they get their Social Security numbers, they have all the visas. They’re work eligible. We help them job search and create a CV," Larcher said.