ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the eight months since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, more than 18,000 Afghans have re-settled in New York State. With 1,200 now calling the Capital Region home, including Nabila, who worked as a journalist before fleeing to the United States.
Nabila says her brother and some of her family are still in Afghanistan trying to get out, “when I speak with my brother sometimes, I cry because the situation in Afghanistan is very, very bad. It’s difficult for Afghan people; especially for women. You cannot go to school, university, just stay in the home, but also for men”
On Friday night, Immigrant ARC, a collaboration that provides legal services to immigrants, hosted an Iftar dinner for those celebrating Ramadan. Iftar is the breaking of fast during Ramadan after sun down and is done as a community says Camilie Mackler of Immigrant ARC.
“Traditionally (Ramadan) is a time where communities and families come together to celebrate and pray. And that is what we are doing tonight as a community, a new community and new neighbors,” Mackler says, “we are praying and coming together and we’re learning from each other and we’re making ourselves all a part of one big community together.”
In attendance at Friday’s Iftar was Assembly Member Jake Ashby, who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. For years, Ashby worked to get his former interpreter stateside; prevailing only a few months ago.
Now the challenge that his former interpreter and the challenge that many Afghans fleeing their country face is getting their entire family to America.
“I would think that our system is designed to bring and welcome people to the United States and right now it looks like that system is disabled,” says the assemblyman, “we are continuing the pressure. We’re working with people in Albany and around the country to help people in Afghanistan get to the United States.”