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Despite Withdrawal From Afghanistan, Pittsburghers Work To Get More Afghans Out And Resettled Locally

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Just hours after the last flight left Kabul, Afghanistan, another flight arrived in Pittsburgh with an Afghan family.

The Pittsburgh community is still helping to get Afghans out of their country and resettled here.

The United States may have finally ended this 20-year war, but clearly, Americans, especially here in Pittsburgh, have not ended their association with Afghanistan.

"Actually, just yesterday, we were notified that a family was coming in last night. We received five hours notice," Dr. Jordan Golin told KDKA's Jon Delano on Tuesday.

On very short notice, an Afghan family of two adults and three children were relocated to Pittsburgh, said Golin, the CEO of Jewish Family & Community Services.

"We met them at the airport. We found a place for them to live temporarily. So they're staying in a short-term hotel until we can arrange long-term housing for them," Golin said.

JFCS works with many other organizations that assist in resettling Afghans who naturally want to keep their privacy.

"They still have family back in Afghanistan, and they worry about how anything they say on camera here may endanger their family, their relatives, their friends," Golin said.

Nearby, University of Pittsburgh Prof. Jennifer Murtazashvili, who lived in Afghanistan, is leading a team to help Afghans left behind get the right papers to emigrate here.

"I am hearing from many Afghans who are concerned about the future, who are eligible for evacuation and were left behind. Actually, most of my friends are in this category," said the professor at the Graduate School of Public & International Affairs.

Murtazashvili said Pittsburgh volunteers have stepped up to help Afghans negotiate the State Department's bureaucracy.

"When Kabul fell about two weeks ago, we were bombarded. Now we have more than 4,000 people who are looking for assistance and our team has now grown to more than 70 volunteers," she said.

While Prof. Murtazashvili is trying to help those still stuck in Afghanistan, Dr. Golin said more Afghans are coming to Pittsburgh.

Already three families of 13 people have been settled here, and an unknown number more are expected soon.

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