James, an Afghan now living in San Diego has been watching in fear his hometown of Kabul fall apart. His family, including his parents, still live in the city and he fears for their safety and any possible retaliation from the Taliban.
He has asked we don’t show his face or use his name. For security reasons, we are calling him James.
James has not been able to sleep in days. He’s been constantly calling his parents and family members who are currently stuck in Kabul waiting desperately for them to get out.
“I’m trying to get them out, but I haven't been able to do anything so far,” said James.
He helped his loved ones apply for a special visa 15 months ago. About two weeks ago, he received notice that they had been approved. With the approval, James says, the U.S. embassy also sent instructions for his loved ones to make their way to the airport.
But that small sense of hope was short-lived.
“They couldn't get in because of the crowds at the airport and still we’re waiting to get more instructions or an email from the embassy to get in,” said James.
He says they have been trying to make it onto a plane daily with no success.
“Right now the focus is to try and get the citizens and those with green cards out of Afghanistan and the people that are SIV cases," said James.
SIV’s or special immigrant visas are granted to Afghans who were employed by the U.S. government.
James says his family was approved for a different type of visa. According to him, this places them in the back of the line.
“I’m feeling really bad,” said James. "I’m nervous. I tried to help them but I can't do anything now.”
With the Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan rapidly approaching, James fears his family won't make it out.
“The situation is unclear, we don't know anything about the future and what's going to happen because there is no president in Afghanistan now, no government now,” said James. “The people don't know what's going to happen in the future.”
Along with an uncertain future, James now faces a race against time to help save his loved ones from the horrors of Kabul.