CINNAMINSON, N.J. - Refugees from Afghanistan are still arriving at Philadelphia International Airport, with more than a half dozen flights Tuesday.
Among those arriving in the U.S., people who helped the U.S. government during the war. One local man says his family did just that, yet are still stuck in Afghanistan.
Playing a voicemail that his brother-in-law left him earlier Tuesday, desperate for help getting himself, his wife and three kids out of Afghanistan. Asmad Jilani, owner of Baba Grill in Cinnaminson, is an Afghanistan native who moved to the United States in 2006. He shared photos of his family member, whose identity is being withheld, for his own safety. The man worked for U.S. forces, training the Afghanistan army for the last several years. Now, he’s holed up in his home in the Taliban-controlled country, fearing for his life.
"It’s danger. The country is danger," Jilani stated.
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Jilani then choked up, recalling a recent conversation with his brother-in-law.
"If something happens, you take care of my kids. It’s very hard, you know?" Jilani described the moment.
Just two weeks ago, the man secured a letter of recommendation to support his visa request to come to the U.S., citing his hard work and loyalty to the coalition efforts. But, he did not make it on a plane.
Some of those who did are landing at Philadelphia International Airport. More than 2,000 refugees came through Philadelphia over the weekend, another seven flights Tuesday.
They received food, clothing, health exams, COVID testing and vaccine shots. Then, they boarded buses and took off to a New Jersey military base. It’s unclear where the refugees will end up. Many questions remain about the entire U.S.-led evacuation mission.
"I wasn’t really clear why we decided on the deadlines we did. I also wasn’t clear on why we decided on August 31st as the final deadline," stated Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA).