Still in Kabul: American describes life-threatening attempts to get home

Taliban Takeover

KABUL (NewsNation Now) — President Biden insists almost every American who wanted out of Afghanistan was evacuated, but “almost” doesn’t mean “all.”

One American woman is waiting for her mother, a naturalized American citizen since 2009, to make it back home from Kabul.

“They ask me every day, ‘When is grandma coming? We miss grandma.’ I don’t have answers for them,” the woman’s daughter, who we will call D, told NewsNation. We have concealed her name and her mother’s name for their safety.

“When you walk, you feel that they will shoot at you,” D’s mother, who we’ll call M, said through a translator. “It is dangerous here; I want to go back to my children.”

M says she went to Afghanistan in the beginning of August to visit family for a few weeks. The Taliban’s takeover complicated everything.

“All of a sudden people start running,” M said. “We ran for almost 2 1/2 hours, we were worried not to get hit.”

Since then, her life has been a nightmare. She said she tried several times to get to the airport in Kabul, following email directives from the State Department. She even had an airport pass for American visa holders.

But every time M went, she was met with chaos. The 62-year-old grandmother tried fighting through the massive crowds without success.

“I tried and went to the airport eight times in a row,” M said. “It was such a chaotic scene outside the airport. My brother was threatened at a gunpoint by a guy holding a weapon on his head. All around were intense gunfire. They fired just right before our feet.”

M is afraid the Taliban will shoot her on sight.

On one harrowing trip, she claims one Taliban member saw her American passport and told her to sit on the ground in a corner.

A few moments later, the crowd surged.

“The crowd of people behind me crushed and people stepped on me and kicked me four or five times,” M said. “As I tried to get up, people stepped on me and you know one of feet hurts badly. If I were not picked up by my nephew, I think I would have been killed in a stampede.”

Her family has been working tirelessly to get M home safely. D is beginning to lose hope.

“I did tell them, I said, ‘You have failed our family. We are U.S. citizens. We are born and raised here, that’s all we know. And you have failed us,’” D told NewsNation.

Top U.S. officials, including Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, insist that the Taliban will help Americans left behind get out of the country, and won’t subjugate women or deny basic human rights.

“The Taliban is committed to let anyone with proper documents leave the country in a safe and orderly manner,” Blinken said.

“No, they are wrong,” M said. “Recently they beat two women. The girls had short pants on them and the Taliban beat them. Now, all women have to put Hijab and Burqa on”

Now this family is desperate for a safe reunion.

“I want to go back,” M said. “There is no other option. I have to be back with my children.”

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