Requests from Bay Area Afghans with families left in Afghanistan flood lawmakers

3 mins read

With the piling pleas from the citizens to get their loved ones out of conflict-ridden Afghanistan, Congressman Ro Khanna has met with Afghans in the Bay Area to estimate the number of people still in the country who need to be evacuated.

Rep. Khanna has met with about eight Afghan Americans at the Warm Springs Community Park in Fremont. His constituents are asking for help to evacuate their remaining families in Afghanistan.

“My mother is in Brussels, brother is still in Kabul, sister is in Wisconsin at Red Cross army camp,” Farzana, who refused to divulge her last name for security reasons, said. She wanted her family to join them in the Bay Area. Farzana’s mother has an approved visa to be allowed for US entry.

The members of Congress have been receiving several requests from both Afghans and Americans, pleading for help on the evacuation operations as the Taliban took over Afghanistan following U.S. withdrawal. 

After the takeover, the offices of Eric Swalwell and Khanna were flooded by families asking for help to get their family and friends out of Afghanistan.

Before the meeting, Khanna told The Chronicle that they intend to identify the number of American citizens and green-card holders who did not manage to leave Afghanistan “and want to get out.”

The conversation, however, was not only limited to immediate family members as neighbors and relatives also came forward to ask for help.

“We’ve received hundreds of requests at our office and we will give (Bay Area Afghans) an update on what we’re hearing,” he said. “We’ll get perspective that is closer to the ground, because (constituents) often are in communication with people in Afghanistan.”

To help with the evacuation operations, Khanna’s office is working hand-in-hand with the State Department and some nonprofits in the state.

East Bay, home to Little Kabul, belongs to his district. It also hosts a huge contingent of Afghan Americans who pitch into the diversity of the region. Approximately 60, 000 Afghan Americans live in the Bay Area.

“We need more charter flights, we need more cooperation with Tajikistan and Pakistan. The Afghan community is an asset, I welcome them here in the Bay Area. I will continue to be a voice for the Afghan American community,” Khanna said.

“I do have some fear because of the dangerous rhetoric from some members of Congress in other jurisdictions. We are a nation of immigrants and we have a moral responsibility to the people of Afghanistan.”

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