Northam: More Than 6K Afghan Refugees Arrive in Virginia

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More than 6,000 Afghan refugees have arrived in Virginia and more are expected, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday.

Refugees have been arriving at Dulles International Airport, where they are processed, tested for COVID-19 and offered vaccinations, Northam said.

"There is fear on people’s face. So bad," said 30-year-old Sayed Hamid, who told News4 he worked with U.S. forces for a decade.

Hamid joined the crush of people at the airport in Kabul.

"It's like more than 40,000 people they all come from all around Afghanistan," Hamid said. "So the Taliban is everywhere. They're hitting people. It's a lot of problem."

Hamid said he watched as desperate Afghans chased some of the first planes to leave.

"Nobody wants to live in Afghanistan right now. It's a very bad situation," Hamid said. "Because you fear for you life?" News4's Julie Carey asked. "Yes. Everybody," he responded.

After three days in Kabul, he boarded a plane and arrived at Dulles Airport with an aunt and uncle.

He says his dream of a peaceful Afghanistan was shattered. His mother, sister and brother are still in Kabul.

"Now, I’m here. I’m going to try and find a job, work, make some money and send [to] them [to] take them out," he said.

At the Dulles Expo Center, refugees were processed along with fleeing American citizens like 14-year-old Sara Froton.

"Yeah, it was a nightmare. It was really horrible," Froton said.

The Charlottesville resident said she was visiting family in Afghanistan when they heard the Taliban was near their apartment. They raced to the airport.

"And when we made it, we got the news that the Taliban ... was under our apartments. So, if we were there for five more minutes, we would have met the Taliban and who knows what would have happened," she said.

Northern Virginia resident Samy Ghasy met his two brothers when they arrived at Dulles on Tuesday. He said he's grateful they are safe, but heartbroken over what's happened to his native country.

"Everyone is hiding now. No one knows what will happen in near future," Ghasy said.
"It is so sad. Whatever we achieved in the last 20 years, it is almost gone. There is nothing left."

From Dulles Airport, refugees go to Fort Lee near Petersburg and now Fort Pickett in Blackstone before it's decided whether they will go to other states or stay in Virginia. About 10% will stay in Virginia, Northam said.

Northam said he appreciates all of the humanitarian work being done in Virginia right now, according to videofrom a WWBT-TV reporter.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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