Afghan Americans in California describe harrowing escape

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Afghan Americans in California describe harrowing escape

Afghan-American families from California unwittingly caught in their homeland as the Taliban swept to power found themselves dodging gunfire as they sought to escape.

One dad whose wife and four kids struggled to return after flying to Afghanistan for a family wedding tried to help his family make it through the crisis — while nervously awaiting their return to the States.

“It was like a situation room. I was sitting here talking to them. They were sending their locations and stuff like this,” the dad, identified only as Yousef, said during a news conference this week.

The families, from San Diego suburb of El Cajon, got out with the help of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and the Cajon Valley Union School District.

“My kids are now safe at home right now thanks to God and all of you,” Yousef said.

Mohammad Faizi, center, speaks during a news conference in El Cajon, Calif. He and his family were visiting relatives in Afghanistan in August, and were forced to escape as the Taliban seized power.
Mohammad Faizi, center, speaks during a news conference in El Cajon, Calif. He and his family were visiting relatives in Afghanistan in August, and were forced to escape as the Taliban seized power.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

An estimated 100 to 200 Americans were left behind in Afghanistan after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops. The situation was a crushing reversal of President Biden’s promise to keep U.S. forces in the country until every American was was out.

“We’re delighted to have these kids back in school and their parents united, but we also know that there’s a lot more work to do,” Issa said.

Yousef said the first thing he and his family did when they were reunited was visit their favorite restaurant, IHOP.

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