Local CAIR-Washington State team helping families on the ground in Afghanistan

The Council on American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington State is directly helping families on the ground in Afghanistan.

Brianna Auffray, legal and policy manager at CAIR WA, said so far more than 150 families have put in requests on behalf of their loved ones in Afghanistan, accounting for about 880 people.

"They feel very helpless, like they’re not getting any sort of direction, they’re not getting any sort of assistance," said Auffray. "Frankly, the level of information that they’re getting to keep them safe is abysmal. For days the most information that I was able to collect to guide people through safe pathways was from Twitter."

President Joe Biden said about 28,000 people have been evacuated since August 14. The president said evacuations of Americans and at-risk Afghans from Kabul Airport is accelerating.

"I don’t know what to believe at this point because they’re saying this is an orderly process, that they’re going to get everyone out, but that’s just not what we’ve seen," said Auffray. "I had one person I’m helping on the ground who made it all the way to that U.S. gate. This young man had already been shot at two days before, he’s now been horribly beaten, and he’s scared to even try again [to reach the airport], and as he’s lying there on the ground bleeding, the U.S. soldier would still not let him in the [airport] perimeter."

Also disheartening, Auffray said so far out of the hundreds of people the organization is working with, none have yet been able to get on a single flight. 

Advocates are urging people to act now and reach out to their federal lawmakers to request expedited visa processing, safe passageways through Kabul and to the airport and Temporary Protected Status for all Afghans who relocate to the U.S.

"We want them to know someone knows they’re there, someone is trying to do something about it," said Auffray.

President Biden set an August 31 deadline for evacuations out of Afghanistan. The president said the hope is not to extend beyond that date, but there are discussions happening about the possibility.

Local organizations and community members are supporting Afghan refugees newly arriving to the Pacific Northwest.

Q13 fox is also sponsoring a donation drive to collect welcome kits for families through World Relief Seattle.

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