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Afghan American student at UNLV reacts to Afghanistan crisis

Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 23:51:18-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Afghan families in the Las Vegas valley have raised concerns about their loved ones back in Afghanistan. The United States has been working on evacuating Americans, but many worry about how they can safely get their families out.

News and other social media platforms are showing videos of the Taliban takeover that have spurred a roller-coaster of emotions for Saha Salahi, an Afghan American student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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“This is not new for us; the sense of suffering and betrayal has been a part of us just not the 20 years where American occupation has been taking place,” Salahi explained.

She said the Taliban takeover is devastating to witness for her and the Las Vegas afghan community. Filled with fear for what is at stake for her family back at home.

“We are going to be going into another generation of the Afghan diaspora, happening not only in the United States but throughout the entire world they will be displaced,” Salahi said.

She is one of many in Vegas that are on the phone with their family members in Afghanistan making sure they are safe. Her family has been hiding inside their homes, avoiding the chaos from the Taliban.

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“You don’t understand what this transition of power is supposed to look like, you don’t know what is to come in the future, and that causes a lot of tension and fear,” said Salahi.

Based on the reputation the Taliban has had, Salahi said they can’t trust them. The Taliban has been roaming the streets and disturbing the peace. She said the biggest challenge many in Afghanistan face is finding a way to get out.

“With an Afghan passport, you are not able to travel to countries that you can easily travel to with a U.S. passport,” explained Salahi.

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From what Salahi has heard from her family back at home. Her female cousins are worried about their school, work, and their quality of life. They fear it all could come to an end.

“Living through these years of disaster and suffering, but they just don’t want that anymore they want the standards of just basic human rights and that’s not being offered right now,” Salahi said.

Salahi said the least the U.S. could do is increase the Afghan refugee population to at least 150,000 or more. Currently, the State Department said the U.S. through “Operation Allies Refuge” is in the middle of relocating 4,000 people. In the past 13 years, the United States has issued more than 73,000 special immigrants visas to eligible Afghans. The State Department says it is expanding the program.

Salahi says as a country we need to be more informed about what is happening in Afghanistan and if you can, she said to donate to a trusted organization to help save the lives of her people.

Click here to donate to the Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies Fund.