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Madison agency helps Afghan refugee family flee to safety

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Thousands of people are waiting to make it out of the country amid the Taliban takeover. On American soil, there are agencies working to help get Afghan refugees to safety.

Many people understand the turmoil some from the middle east face, as they wait for loved ones to make it to US soil.

One man living in the Madison area was afraid after the Taliban takeover in Kabul that his family wouldn’t make it out alive.

The man asked NBC15 News to hide his identity to protect his family.

“I was very shocked, and I was very scared,” the man said. “All I could do was cry.”

Born in Afghanistan, this former interpreter for the U.S. Marines Corps came to the United States on a visa in 2015. Since then, he’s become a naturalized citizen.

He was afraid of death after the Taliban takeover in his home country of Afghanistan, but not for his own life.

“I didn’t know how to get my family out of Afghanistan, especially my son and my wife,” he said. “I thought they would arrest them and kill them all.”

The man told his wife to leave her home go somewhere safe. He’s spent the last two years working with the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison, which helps immigrants process legal paperwork, trying to get his wife and three-year-old son to the states.

“I felt a calling to do anything and everything possible to help his wife and child evacuate,” Janice Beers with the CMC said.

After the government siege, Janice Beers at the CMC, with the help of UW-Madison Law Professor Megan McDermott worked to get them to safety.

“I connected Janice with the people who I knew who were taking care of these efforts on the ground,” McDermott said.

The mother-son pair spent three days near the Kabul airport, trying to escape.

“I knew it was a long-shot, but I had to do everything possible,” Beers said.

Finally, they were connected them with a US service member and veterans group, Team America, that transported them to Qatar, Wednesday.

The man says the explosion at the airport Thursday was where his wife and son were staying days prior to the chaos.

“It was just like magic when they were out of Afghanistan, I was like, ‘oh my god they’re safe,’” the man said.

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