Local organization looks for resources to welcome Afghan refugees


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local Afghan activists and organizations are ready to help refugees get resettled in the Capital Region. They are in need of volunteers and aid for that to become a reality.

“They are in a very desperate situation, and they need help from people like you, me, or anybody else,” said Abdul Satar, a representative of the Islamic Association of the Capital District. 

Satar says it’s hard to watch the Taliban sweep through his home country. He is worried about his extended family and others in Afghanistan who helped the government rebuild. “They really don’t know who to talk to. I know a senator, and he’s marked for death. I know a general who is marked for death in Afghanistan. My sister-in-law lives in Kandahar, is stuck and doesn’t know where to go,” he said.

Thousands of refugees have nowhere to go and they are fighting to get back to their loved one in the United States. Satar says many organizations are scrambling to identify escape routes. “There should be a lawyer appointed to us by the government. They should say hey listen whose family is left over there, and whose marked for death. We need to speed up the visa process,” he said.  

Satar is working on plans with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Albany. He wants to ensure all refugees have money to help them when they arrive. “They should be given one card with money on it, so they can then spend it the way they want to,” he said.

The USCRI Albany Field Office has welcomed more than 4,500 newcomers to Albany, New York since 2005. Refugees resettled in Albany come primarily from Afghanistan, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Syria.

When it comes to resettling in the Capital Region, Satar believes it should be by Central Avenue in Albany with other nearby Afghani families. “It is important that when they come outside, they don’t feel the fear, they see Muslim people walking around and their culture around them,” he said.

Satar says more help and volunteers are needed to safely welcome back refugees into this country. You can find more resources and information to help Afghan allies on the USCRI Albany website.

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