We have been sharing stories about some of the many Afghan families that we have been trying to help and how we make a difference in Afghanistan, but their journeys have not been a walk in the park… not by a long shot. They face many hardships as they learn to navigate an unpredictably dangerous life, where they literally don’t know whether they will be alive by the end of the day. In just the past week, we have lost ten people at the hands of the Taliban.
Sleeping With One Eye Open
They have many valid reasons to be anxious, panicked and discouraged. Some of these reasons are lacking food and water, having no safe shelter, running out of money, wearing summer clothes as colder months approach and the most dire: losing their lives. This is a daily occurrence, a minute-by-minute concern, an inevitable monster that haunts them day and night. This shines a new light to the saying “sleeping with one eye open.”
The Project Exodus Relief team is an outstanding group of capable and caring retired veterans and patriots that get text messages and desperate emails daily. To say that their cries for help are heartbreaking is a gross understatement. We are a 100% volunteer group that diligently works around the clock to help American citizens, Green Card holders, SIV (Special Immigrant Visas) holders and Afghans in danger.
Scratching Every Surface And No Rock Left Unturned
The scope of what our team covers is vast. We do anything and everything that might help, from getting them out of Afghanistan to moving them to safe houses, from providing them money for medical care to making it possible for them to acquire food and water. We explore all possibilities. I have used the phrase “Scratching every surface and no rock is left unturned” quite a bit in the past month and half and it has now become my motto. If there is a possibility, no matter how small, we will try it.
In this article, I want to share with you Jalal’s story, so you can get a glimpse into what he and his family have been going through since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August of 2021. This is our first story with updates. I will give you some background information about who Jalal is and his family’s near-impossible journey. But as dire it sounds, don’t despair when you read the first part of the story. We have wonderful updates that will encourage you.
Disclaimer: All victim/hero names and some locations have been changed to protect their identity
Loyal and Dedicated
Starting in 2009, Jalal worked as a linguist with a couple of American companies in Afghanistan. After that, he transitioned to become an interpreter for US Army ODAs (Operational Detachment Alpha). He partook on numerous combat missions, many of them extremely risky, near the Pakistan border.
Jalal was loyal to the United States. He was dedicated and did his work with excellence. He and his family paid costly amounts to acquire passports and visas to travel to the United States in search of a better life. But his goals were torn to pieces on that fateful day when Afghanistan fell.
One of our Project Exodus Relief team members, JJ, has been communicating with him during this time. He has requested our help through our website and has submitted his documents in order for us to corroborate who he is. Throughout his communications with JJ in the past few weeks, Jalal has always been calm, cool and collected. He is a patient and very courteous man.
But as days and weeks transpired and more devastating events hit their family on all fronts, it is only understandable for him to become anxious and desperate. Here is part of his story. These are direct quotes from one text he sent JJ. Jalal was having a dark day and understandably so. Once you read it, you will know why. I have not corrected any grammatical or spelling errors. I have decided to share it as it was sent, out of respect for him.
He Sold Everything And Is Now Running For His Life
[JJ asked Jalal if he could go to Kabul because planes were flying out of that airport.]
“Sir, way is not safe i heard TB are looking for people like me we are scared to go to Kabul , and also i can’t financially effort it , i sold everything of my house in Jalalabad, came to kabul on 12 August and bought tickets from travel agency for Emirate airlines to fly to USA , when TB took over , the travel agency was closed and my money stuck there they said Banks are closed and don’t have Dollar to give you money back ,”
Imagine selling everything you own to purchase plane tickets to leave the country and fly your family all the way to the United States (prices vary, but can cost as much as US$9,000 per person), only to discover that you have lost your chances to fly out and you are out of money.
“i stayed in kabul for end of August i heard there , that TB are looking door to door for people like me , then i came to Mazar and was changing location in Mazar , but right now to be honest all my money gone just have much to survive for a week or may be few more days ,”
What would you do if you found yourself in this desperate situation? Keep in mind that traveling by land in Afghanistan is scary and dangerous, too. There are many Taliban checkpoints where they can straight up kill you, if they decide that they don’t like you.
The Weather Has Changed: Winter Is Coming
“weather changed in Mazar it is cold my children don’t have warm cloths , my 11 month year old daughter is sick can’t effort to take her to doctor or buy warm cloths , my son is almost 5 years old when i take him out he see things in shops tell me to buy for him i told him when we got to USA i will buy you everything but now when we go out he see something tells me dad i don’t cry when we got to USA you buy me everything ,”
As a parent, this struggle must find itself at the top of the list. Not being able to provide for your family’s basic needs, such as food and warm clothes just pierces the heart. As parents, keep a strong, positive front, but on the inside, we’re dying.
“i don’t know why i writing all this to you i am sorry sir i am emotional a little, tears making way on face but this is what it is , i am hearing that TB are also looking for people like me in Mazar too don’t know what gonna happen in next days or weeks i have to stay in Mazar to survive for more because no one knows me here ,”
Can you blame him for feeling so distraught and heartbroken? Will they make it one more week? Will they survive even today? What a terrifying notion to live, day in and day out!
Please Don’t Stop Helping Us
“i spended all my money for SIV finally got visa was very happy but did not know and it would ended like this , i feel sad for my situation , it is very hard time for me and my family it is not only on me most people have the same situation , but please sir do not stop helping us ,”
Did you catch that? ‘Do not stop helping us.’ No, we are not going to stop, Jalal. Our team at Project Exodus Relief are committed to doing everything we can to make sure you are safe and that you and your family make it out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.
“no one knows what gonna happen if me and my Family did not survive then it is ok but if my family survive and i did not survive please sir do not stop texting me my wife can read and understand a little english try to evacuate them i don’t want dark future for my son and daughter want a bright future for them thank you very much sir for trying to help me i m sorry to gave you headache sir”
The Power To Make A Difference
Jalal, always so calm and put-together, succumbed to fear and stress, especially as time passed and their chances of getting out seemed dimmer. But his story goes on. It is not over. This is a dark period in their story, but it gets better. We have the power to make a difference. We are able to touch lives all the way around the world that we never imagined we could. Stay tuned for an encouraging update from this family.
Will you make a difference in Afghanistan and donate? Your generosity can change lives forever. Thank you!
Help Our Efforts In Afghanistan
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