Exclusive: FOX 5 speaks with Afghan refugees as they begin arriving in DMV
WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Monday night, the U.S. military flew out between 700 and 800 people out of Afghanistan, but they hope to get thousands of people out of the country a day. Tuesday, many were arriving in the DMV.
The White House says the Taliban has agreed to allow "safe passage" for people trying to flee the country and join a U.S.-directed airlift from Kabul. The announcement comes amid reports of civilians being turned away and even beaten at the airport.
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Hundreds of Afghan refugees have been arriving at Dulles Airport over the past several days on some of the commercial flights that are still flying out of the Afghan capital.
FOX 5 spoke with some who shared what their journey has been like so far.
Many were at nearby hotels but didn't want to share their location for their safety. Some arrived just hours ago while others have been here for days.
Most of them are families with suitcases full of whatever they were able to bring with them, but all of them tell FOX 5 they don’t know what will be left of their homes and are scared for what they leave behind.
Many of the refugees didn’t want to go on camera out of fear, but they say they were in Kabul as it fell over the weekend.
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Most of them say they worked alongside U.S. military troops, and that’s why they were able to get out just in time.
The refugees we spoke to say they’ve been able to get in contact with some folks back in Afghanistan. Those back in their home country tell them the Taliban takeover has gotten worse and many are scared to even leave their homes.
"Afghanistan isn’t safe, they are not safe and we are here, we are safe," one refugee told FOX 5. "All relatives there are in danger in their life."
"They try to find anyway. [It] doesn’t matter...aircraft, land, they [are] dying. It doesn’t matter for them. They will try to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible," another refugee said. "I was lucky that I left Afghanistan because I work with Americans and I was worried about my situation and my family. When I left the people my family was happy because, they say, ‘if you’re safe we are safe at home.’"
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We’re told that this operation is part of a larger state department effort, but the organization putting this together could not confirm any details with us since they say their primary concern was the privacy and security of the refugees.
These refugees coming to the DMV say they’ll stay in hotels for a few days until they are able to get in contact with any family members or friends they may have across the states.
Many non-profit organizations are working around the clock to get these refugees relocated and housed to help start their new lives in America from the ground up.