This family was torn apart in Kabul. A year later they are still not back together

“I didn’t know how to get to the airport again,” Masi said. “It wasn’t easy for me.”

When he and his father Ahmad Wali Stanekzai arrived at Kabul International Airport in April, they were filled with bad memories of eight months ago. After the fall of the capital, the entire family joined the crowd in a desperate attempt to leave Afghanistan. Taliban.

Then there was the explosion — the ISIS-K suicide attack. The family was separated in turmoil. his mother was killed. He and his father were separated from his two younger brothers who were injured.

Now, more than four months after arriving in Qatar from Afghanistan, and more than a year after the deadly attack, the family has yet to return.

“Remembering how we separated and lost my mother is so upsetting,” Masi said.

“I had the worst trauma when I was a kid,” he told CNN in a text. it seems like.”

The rest of his family lives in Virginia. His brothers, 14-year-old Faisal and his 8-year-old Mina, were placed in the care of his aunt Ferishta his Stanekzai after an explosion last August separated him from his parents. Mina and Faisal arrived at the airport with their neighbors, boarded a flight to Germany, and after being treated for injuries at Landstuhl Hospital, Walter, a suburb of Washington, where he was treated at Reed Medical Center. . , DC.

The past year, and especially the last month, has been a difficult time for the Virginia family, Ferishta said.

Both children are still working through the trauma they experienced. Mina regularly had nightmares and was driven by her anger, sometimes begging to go to Qatar to be with her father and brother, her aunt told CNN.

“Sometimes she asks a lot of questions about her mother. Why was she killed? Why didn’t anyone help her?” Ferishta said.

It was also challenging for Ferishta as she takes care of her nephews and nieces, dealing with both guardianship cases and those of her brother and other nephews, and also has a regular job.

“Managing all this makes it all very difficult for me and very difficult to manage every day,” she said.

“It’s like overnight I became a single mother without knowing how to get my kids into school. It was like a whole new experience for me,” Ferishta added.

Junior Mina told CNN that she loves school. Her favorite subject is physical education. She likes to “jump and run” and was told by her doctor that her leg, which was injured in the attack in Kabul, is fine, but she said it hurts at times. .

I talk to my family every day. She tells Mina that she loves her brother and her father. Masi comes to hear about their school. She said she was happy to see them in uniform.

Masi told CNN, “I hope I can wear the uniform soon.

Ferishta said she hopes the U.S. government will deal with the case quickly, and that she and her family have not received a clear answer as to why her brother and nephew are still unable to come to the United States. Ahmad Wali and Masi filled out forms and underwent interviews and health checks, former Air Force Lt. Gen. John Bradley, who runs the Lamia Afghan Foundation and has worked with the family, told CNN.

“They were left alone and not given much information,” said Bradley.

“Families need to get back together. No one thinks it’s appropriate to be separated from your parents for a year when you’re a young child,” said Bradley.


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