The U.S. and its coalition forces pulled out of Afghanistan in August, after 20 years of war. The Taliban took over shortly after the sudden collapse of the Afghan government.
For the Afghans who got out, the next hurdle is to start a new life. Many of those Afghans consider themselves the lucky ones – just getting to Kabul International Airport has been extraordinarily difficult, and now they’re taking the next big step in their journey.
But for others, they must continue to wait.
Sami, whose real name isn’t being used, was a translator for the U.S. military in the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. Since the group seized control of the country in August, he and his young family have spent three months hiding in a rented apartment in Kabul waiting for what’s known as a Special Immigrant Visa to the U.S.
Although the federal government has said they’re trying to speed up the application process, Sami feels like it’s been stalled.
“I can’t survive [like this],” he told CBS News’ foreign correspondent Imtiyaz Tyab.
America’s longest war couldn’t have been fought without Afghans. From translators to gathering intelligence, many tens of thousands assisted in the fight, working with U.S. forces through thick and thin.
The Biden administration has faced mounting criticism for not making it easier for an estimated 100,000 Afghans who have supported the U.S. mission to get visas out.
While the Taliban insists its forces won’t harm anyone who once worked for the United States as part of what it’s calling a “general amnesty,” many Afghans like Sami just don’t believe them.
“I’m not happy here in the shelter of … Taliban,” he said. “If they took me, if they captured me … they will kill me.”
It’s a fear that’s only growing with each passing day.