PHOENIX — As Arizona prepares to welcome more Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban forces, several refugees already in Phoenix are working to get their family members out of Afghanistan.
Nakib Isaczai has been in the United States for four years. He worked as an interpreter for the US Military for four years in Afghanistan. In 2014, the group he was working with left the country and he lost his job.
“I received threats, my family received threats, and my dad was kidnapped by the Taliban," he said.
He was granted a Special Immigrant Visa or SIV, which is given to Afghans who worked for the US government.
- Refugee resettlement resources
- Arizona Immigrant & Refugee Services
- Catholic Charities Community Services
- International Rescue Committee
- Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
“That was the best moment of my life when I received my Green Card because I was running away from death, prosecution, and threats—all these things my whole life," said Isaczai. “Now I feel like I have a new life, a rebirth.”
But his parents and younger sister are still in Afghanistan.
“She has lost her life because she’s 12 years old, she cannot go to school, she cannot go to work, her dreams are faded away," said Isaczai.
Asif Haidari and his family came to Phoenix as refugees a year ago. He worked with the Marines for seven years as a combat translator and then two years with US Special Forces.
Haidari said his family lives outside Kabul, and in the more remote districts where there is less media coverage, it's much more dangerous, especially for women.
"Stoning them, forced marriages, under-aged marriages, rape, all sort of bad things are happening," he said.
Isaczai and Haidari fear the Taliban will retaliate against their families since they helped the US government. Haidari's 16-year-old sister had to flee their home in northern Afghanistan. She's hiding in Kabul.
“I’m trying my best and trying to find a source that way I can get her out of there," said Haidari.
Haidari and his wife just had a second daughter in Phoenix. He said he was grateful that they'll have opportunities he and his wife never had in Afghanistan.
“I don't have words --that the US did a fantastic job saving our lives," said Haidari. "But now, things are changed. We are worried about our families now. So if we leave them behind, it’s going to be a huge humanitarian tragedy over there.”
Both men are talking to immigration lawyers to see what options their family members have.