Seven California families that spent the summer in Afghanistan are now safely home after nightmarish attempts to escape that would rival any blockbuster movie.
They were helped by Republican House member Darrell Issa, whose district includes their home city of El Cajon, which has an Afghan population.
The families entered the country months ago with young children to visit relatives before Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. They quickly found themselves trapped behind enemy lines.
The group spoke to reporters on Thursday. One man who had five children with him said he had to get through more than 10,000 people who were also trying to flee, according to KUSI News. Some of the parents described gunfire whizzing over their heads as they ran with their children.
“It was really hard for us to pass the Taliban gate,” said another man. “They told us, ‘Why are you guys leaving Afghanistan? Why you guys not stay here with us?’ I told him, ‘That’s our country, that’s our nation, so we are leaving here. We have to get out of here.’”
Another stated, “It was a tough time over there, it was like a bad dream we had for the past 14 days.”
One father, Yousef, said he hoped his children could return to their lives as normal.
“They are talking about it, about the gunfire, and being scared of the Taliban, but we hope they forget all that," he said.
One woman with children was not so lucky. She was not able to escape and is in daily contact with a community organizer who is attempting to help her.
On Aug. 16, family members called Issa’s office when it was clear that maneuvering through the mass exodus would be dangerous.
Mohammad Faizi, with his wife and five children, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that they hid in the blazing sun for several days while finding their way. They had no food or water.
Issa rescued a total of 38 people with help from the Cajon Valley Union School District, but the families still hope they can find a way to bring their parents, grandparents, and others to El Cajon. Issa has said he will welcome Afghan refugees to the city.
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Original Author: Tori Richards
Original Location: 'It was like a bad dream': California families reveal ordeal escaping Kabul