“The night after the Taliban took over, I wake up – it’s another day here in America. I look at my phone and I have a missed call and a couple messages from a cousin in Afghanistan,” Mariam Farzayee, president of the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, told Fox News. “He’s begging me for help to get him out, he says, ‘Is there any way you can sponsor me to leave? Is there any way you can help me get into another country?’”
“He was talking to me about he’s terrified for his own life and he feels so helpless and doesn’t know what he can really do from there,” Farzayee said, detailing the photos and videos she received showing how Taliban fighters were outside her cousin’s building. “He said the night before, the Taliban had come to his house and they broke a ton of windows in his neighborhood and they also broke the windows in his cars. He said all he could do was shelter in place because there’s really nothing he can do.”
Farzayee said her cousin was at the airport when he witnessed several people being trampled to death as crowds stampeded onto the tarmac and some desperately clung to the side of a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it took off. She said he has since returned to his home not far outside of Kabul.
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Mariam Farzayee tells Fox News her cousin is sheltering in place outside Kabul after the Taliban came to his home and broke windows on his cars. (Mariam Farzayee)
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Mariam Farzayee tells Fox News her cousin sent photos showing that protesters attempted to demonstrate in the street with the Afghanistan flag, but the Taliban fired into the crowd. (Mariam Farzayee )
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Mariam Farzayee tells Fox News her cousin sent photos showing that protesters attempted to demonstrate in the street with the Afghanistan flag, but the Taliban fired into the crowd. (Mariam Farzayee)
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Mariam Farzayee tells Fox News Taliban fighters fired into a crowd of protesters, forcing crowds to disperse. (Mariam Farzayee )
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Mariam Farzayee tells Fox News Taliban fighters fired into a crowd of protesters, forcing crowds to disperse. (Mariam Farzayee)
“He said it was heartbreaking to see so many Afghans trying to leave like that,” she said. “I know that because this is an ongoing crisis, the rules are changing every day. He had mentioned that he has a passport for which I think will be beneficial for potentially bringing him here. But if he can’t get to America, I’m looking into seeing if he can come to the UK or any other country in the EU.”
Her cousin is not a U.S. citizen but has an Afghan passport, which not a lot of people there have.
“This morning, a couple of hours ago, he sent me a couple of images of protests going on in the Kabul area. They were holding the Afghanistan flag – not the Taliban flag,” Farzayee said. “He told me that the Taliban ended up shooting at them so they all were forced to disperse.”
Disturbing videos previously provided to Fox News show how Taliban fighters have been beating back crowds of people who are attempting to access the airport with hopes of being placed on flights out of the country. Taliban fighters have positioned themselves on top of concrete road dividers blocking the entrance to the airport’s main gates, sometimes firing into the air as crowds line the street. Few are allowed to pass.
Farzayee, whose parents immigrated to the United States after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, said what’s going on now “has brought up a lot of past feelings for them because they fled for a reason and now 20 years later it’s happening all over again, so it’s very upsetting for them to see it.”
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Mariam Farzayee is president of the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is pursuing a degree in Accounting and Information Systems with a concentration in Accounting Information Systems Audit and a minor in Professional and Technical Writing. (Mariam Farzayee)
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Mariam Farzayee is president of the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is pursuing a degree in Accounting and Information Systems with a concentration in Accounting Information Systems Audit and a minor in Professional and Technical Writing. (Mariam Farzayee )
“They’re saying what is such a beautiful country is actually going backwards in time,” she said. “My mom has a couple family members that she has been talking to and she’s told me that they’re scared to leave the house, and if they do leave, they’re not allow to leave unless they have a male guardian with them. So that indicates what it’s like to be a woman in the country right now.”
Another female cousin in dental school was supposed to graduate next month, but now that the Taliban has taken over, “she has no idea if she’ll be able to graduate or practice,” Farzayee said.
She said the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Tech is planning on organizing fundraisers for Afghan refugees who are coming to the U.S. The club also plans to organize students willing to call members of Congress to plead for help for these refugees coming to their area.
“We need to put the politics to the side for a little bit and focus on the lives,” Farzayee said. “Because the past 20 years has been all about politics, and now that the Taliban has completely taken over, it should be about the Afghan lives that are at stake here. Our top priority should be helping them instead of bashing any political leader that’s been involved in this process.”
“Since everything is happening so fast, there’s been a lot of misinformation that’s spreading,” she said. “Yesterday, I listened to a Taliban debriefing, and they said in Farsi, which I was able to translate on my own, that they want all the interpreters to stay and they won’t be seeking revenge on them. But then I’m logging onto Instagram or Twitter and Facebook, I’m reading these news reports about how they actually did end up killing these interpreters.”
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