DILWORTH, N.C. (WJZY) — For these Afghan families, Saturday afternoon is a time to celebrate.
“I just escaped from a warrior country, and it’s really great to me that I’m here,” said Abdul Hamid Barsa, a former Afghan Interpreter.
He, his wife and his kids are being welcomed to Charlotte with a party in Freedom Park from the same friend who helped them narrowly escape Afghanistan, Sean Kilbane.
“Kabul collapsed under the Taliban, and I’ve been there all the time–days and nights. I have been in my house. And if I wanted to go outside, the Taliban would take me and brutally they would kill us,” Barsa said.
But thanks to Kilbane, he and his family were able to get on the last plane to America.
“And after 10 days, on Aug. 25, he called me and said ‘Go! Go now to the airport,’ and I went to the airport immediately. It happened in 10 minutes. I just got my wife and my two sons and just a small bag. When we got to the airport, it was horrible. Firefighting, shootings, so much crowded. We went and were pushing themselves in the crowd, and it was a really bad situation,” he said.
“They actually went through the Abbey gate. And hours after they went through that gate, is when that gate exploded,” Kilbane said. He served for two years in Afghanistan.
Kilbane says service members and interpreters have a very special relationship.
“The idea of leaving our team members and allies behind wasn’t something I could stand for because I made a promise to them when they came to work for me that we would surrender them to the Taliban and to a life of death and desperation,” he said.
The Interpreting Freedom Foundation has been able to get the refugees cars and training for jobs, but their biggest challenge has been finding a place for them to stay. Former Afghanistan trauma surgeon Grant Campbell says they still need help. He also serves on the board of directors for Interpreting Freedom.
If you would like to help, you can go to InterpretingFreedomfoundation.org to make a contribution. They also accept cryptocurrencies. You can donate, food and even cars. Kilbane says they also have an Amazon wish list – Amazon Smile – to help the refugees in any way possible.