Prince Wafa, an American citizen living in the San Diego region, was waiting with his wife in Afghanistan this summer, so they couldn’t sleep.
They ran out of money. They were worried about their future.
Wafa, a former U.S. Army translator, came to San Diego in 2014 and became a U.S. citizen in 2019. A convenience store owner and manager, he returned to Afghanistan in July and was waiting with his wife while getting a spouse visa. It was processed.
On August 31, the United States ended a 20-year conflict in the region, withdrew all military support, and stranded Wafa, his wife, and hundreds of American citizens.
“I couldn’t sleep at night. I was scared,” Wafa said. “We had to eat, but we were short of money. There was no bank to send money. Many things were added to the problem.
“We didn’t know what our future would be or what would happen to us.”
The couple finally returned to San Diego on Wednesday with the help of Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents the 50th Parliamentary District.
Wafa said on Friday that he could relax for the first time in a few months.
“I don’t know how I feel — I think I’m relaxed. It’s fresh,” he said. “I’m relaxed, but knowing that there are more people like me still in Afghanistan, the rest of me can’t rest.”
Issa’s communications director, Jonathan Wilcox, said parliamentarians and his staff worked with State Department officials almost every day to facilitate Wafa’s return and facilitate his wife’s visa process. They were able to take both Wafa and his wife to Qatar in late October.
In a press statement on Wednesday, Issa criticized President Joe Biden for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.
“This was personal. My team and I worked for months to ensure the safe return of Prince Wafa and his wife, and we were amazed at his courage and dedication. Wassa, “said Issa. “His betrayal by President Biden and the almost unlimited delays of this administration were unnecessary and shameful. He was not the first American left behind and we are not the last to return home. I’m sure there isn’t. “
Mahwah asked not to use his wife’s name to protect her family, who still live in the Taliban-controlled country.
The withdrawal of military assistance in the region on August 31 caused turmoil around the world, with videos and images showing men, women and children crowding the airport and chasing planes away from the country. ..
According to Wafa, the US State Department at the time told me to travel to the airport with citizenship documents to leave the country safely.
“That was a joke,” he said. “I couldn’t even get close to the gate. The line was miles long. And how safe is it to show our citizenship documents to those we’ve fought for years?”
So Wafa said he and his wife called, waited, called more, and waited a little longer. He refused to leave without his wife.
By October, Wafa letter He and his wife told President Joe Biden that he and his wife had not yet been able to receive assistance from the US State Department.
“We are just as surprised as you when the country fell under Taliban control very quickly and could not reach HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport) before evacuation attempts became life-threatening. “Wafa said in a letter. “Since then, we have been patiently waiting according to the instructions from the State Department, but it didn’t help.”
Mr. Wafa contacted MP Issa through the Afghanistan Evacuation Assistance Portal on the MP’s website and said he did not expect anything to happen.
Congressman called him personally.
“He called and told me he wouldn’t stop fighting, and he was working hard to get me home,” Wafa recalled. “And he did.”
Wafa and his wife were finally put on a commercial flight to Qatar in October, where she waited for her visa to be processed.
Ischa, who was critical of how the Biden administration handled the withdrawal of military support, vowed to help other Americans still stuck in the area.
“The story of Prince Wafa is not overlooked,” Issa said. “Americans don’t have to experience what he endured, and this should also provide a lasting lesson: today we celebrate the return of brave Americans, but what to do. There are many more, and there are more Americans to take home. “
According to the US State Department, the office has directly assisted 479 American citizens and 450 legal permanent residents in leaving Afghanistan.
A spokesperson for one sector said that Afghanistan has families that many do not want to leave, so as people change their minds about leaving or some U.S. citizens choose to return, those left behind. He said the official numbers fluctuate daily.
As of November 10, the State Department requested the government to assist in leaving Afghanistan and confirmed that all US citizens with the necessary travel documents were offered the opportunity to do so.
San Diego business owner evacuated from Afghanistan with Congressman Issa’s support Source link San Diego business owner evacuated from Afghanistan with Congressman Issa’s support