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From Kabul to San Diego

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

I always wanted to serve my people through my career. It’s what our father taught us. I grew up in a bright, open-minded family. I have five brothers and four sisters. I’m married and have two kids (one daughter and one son).

I have over 13 years of work experience in the agricultural sector. I got my MSc in Japan. My job before the Taliban took over Afghanistan was at GRAIN Research and Innovation, a USAID funded project implemented by Michigan State University in Afghanistan.

Life was good before the collapse. In July 2021, the situation was getting worse, but I never thought Afghanistan would fall into Taliban hands again after almost 25 years.

At my job every morning we had security update. On the 10th of August, our security manager told us we need to destroy all the documents we have in our office. I was scared and called my supervisor to ask what is going on. He said the situation is not good. The Taliban were getting close to the capital. I asked what will happen to us? He said “I’m in contact with MSU, and they are working on our evacuation.”

On August 15, the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, fell into Taliban hands. Along with the rest of my team, I hid from them, and on August 27, with the support of Michigan congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and US marines, we were evacuated from Kabul to Albania. I was there for about 7 months.

On March 22, 2022, I arrived in the U.S., through Operation Allies Welcome. After two weeks in Leesburg Virginia, we arrived in San Diego, California. All Afghan refugees here are required to apply for asylum, except SIV holders.

I was struggling to find someone to help me with my asylum application. One day I spoke with my friend and shared my concern. He said, “Don’t worry, I will introduce you to Ms. Morgan. She is an attorney, and she helped me too.” My friend introduced me to Ms. Morgan through email, and on the same day, May 13, 2022, I got a nice reply from Ms. Morgan. She asked me to come to the Pathways to Citizenship office. The next day I went to her office. I remember at that time I didn’t have car, so I went by bus. After a warm welcome, she started copying my documents and started my asylum application progress.

After a while, she introduced me to Ms. Dede, an attorney who volunteers with Pathways to Citizenship. She is very nice and helpful for me too. She gave me a computer. Pathways to Citizenship is very supportive and helpful. I’m very grateful that they are helping me with my asylum application. Hopefully one day they will help me apply for my green card. I won’t forget their support, care, and concern for my family.

Thank you, Ms. Morgan and Ms. Dede, and everyone at Pathways to Citizenship who are directly and indirectly helping me. I wish I had the honor of meeting you all.

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