'Help those who helped our troops': Group urges US to expedite removal of eligible Afghans
An Afghan couple living in the Westchester says their family in Afghanistan is in danger and they cannot help them.
It comes as the U.S. paused evacuation flights to the U.S. for Afghans who worked with the U.S. during the war and are in danger of being killed by the Taliban.
The couple, who are calling themselves Ahmad and Meena, did not want to reveal their identities for fear it could put their families in Afghanistan at risk.
Ahmad worked with the U.S. government during the war.
"It was a big risk we were taking to work with them. If the Taliban knew we were supporting them, they would have killed us," he says.
The dangerous work made him eligible for the special immigrant visa, or SIV, which allowed his family to move to White Plains about two years ago.
"We came here and we are safe our lives are safe and we have more possibilities," says Ahmad.
But the exit of U.S. troops and the fall of the Afghanistan government puts their families back home, who are eligible for visas, in imminent danger.
Meena says her concern is for her family and friends who are living there.
Kathie O'Callaghan is with Hearts & Homes for Refugees, which is currently resettling one Afghan family and hopes to support two more.
She says volunteers are helping families file paperwork in hopes of being approved for visas, even though channels for their removal break down.
"Seeing the desperate pleas -- 'Please, I am begging you around the corner, they are in my neighborhood, they are going to kill us,'" she says.
She wants the U.S. government to expedite the removal of SIV applicants and their families.
"Help those who helped our troops, who saved their lives," she says.
"We went through a lot of hardships and difficult times to support their mission and now it's time for the U.S. to find a solution," says Ahmad.