WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan Monday, but some families here in Connecticut are still hoping to get their family members out of the country.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is calling for President Biden to continue evacuation efforts even after the troops leave.
“I will continue to pressure this administration to do everything possible and use every point of leverage we have, points of leverage that are economic and diplomatic to see continued evacuation escape and rescue of Afghans who are in peril,” Sen. Blumenthal said.
As many Connecticut residents with loved ones in Afghanistan grow discouraged, state organizations are helping resettle Afghan refugees in the state.
The family behind Hansa’s Grill in Waterbury has been trying to get their cousin, a former commander in the Afghan army, out of the country. The family says they are running out of hope.
Anita Mir has been trying for weeks to help her loved ones escape the Taliban and get on the last flights leaving the Kabul airport with other Afghan refugees. With time running out, Mir believes that all of her efforts have gone in vain.
“We try so much. But no one from our family gets out of this situation. They are all there,” says Mir.
Mir has already lost five relatives in the ISIS-K airport attack and others are still hiding.
“They asked more than 100 times to do the paperwork, do separately, do this way, do the way. We did everything but unfortunately, we never got anything,” Mir said.
Sen. Blumenthal was joined on the steps of the Connecticut state capitol with representatives from resettlement agencies in the state Monday. These agencies said they are ready to receive any refugee who makes it to Connecticut.
“We mourn the senseless loss of so many lives, including American service members in this terror attack,” the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut wrote. “We condemn all acts of indiscriminate violence against the civilian population of Afghanistan by any and all parties. We call upon any future governing entity to respect human life and the rights of all people under their leadership.”
Many families here in Connecticut fear for the safety of their loved ones in Afghanistan.
Sen. Blumenthal says he wants to see the U.S. continue rescue missions across land borders even after the airport is ceded to Taliban control.
“We must hold the Taliban to their promise that they will enable those Afghans to escape,” said Blumenthal.
But war-weary families like the Mirs believe by then, it will be too late.
“You believe in Taliban? Past 20 years we had so many problems, everyday suicide bombing. Nobody believed them and now just five or 10 days ago now you’re believing them? That’s not right,” Mir said.
The Mirs say they’ve been getting reports of loved ones in Afghanistan being killed by the Taliban. Other families believe things will only get worse once the U.S. leaves for good.
The following organizations are helping resettle Afghan refugees in Connecticut:
- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)
- Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI)
- Danbury Area Refugee Assistance (DARA)
- Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (CIRC)