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Bay Area Afghan Community Rallies Support for Refugees Fleeing Taliban

FREMONT (KPIX) -- As the situation in Afghanistan appears to be deteriorating, there is growing concern and frustration in the Bay Area.

"I'm just here to support my country," said Safi Saddiqui, who was marching in Fremont Saturday to support Afghans fleeing the Taliban takeover. "You know, what's going on, a lot of people are suffering. We are in a bad situation. We tried to help everyone, America left us in a bad situation."

As more bad news was coming out of the Kabul airport, the East Bay's Afghan community made another plea for help.

"Save our Afghan allies," said Lena Nazar. "Someone has to raise their voices for this cause. If we don't, who will? So, we have to not forget our Afghan allies. That's why we're here."

One of the marchers actually live-streamed the event to his family in Afghanistan. Many of those who protested Saturday have loved ones in Afghanistan who are trying to get out.

"For example, I have a sister-in-law that is running away from the Taliban," said Said Mirzada. "She's a teacher."

Mirzada says there is no way all of those who need to be evacuated will be out by the current Aug. 31 deadline.

"To safely get folks out you're probably looking at 90 days," he estimated. "With the situation we have in there right now, 10 days, it's not really realistic."

Word that the situation around the airport is getting more dangerous has only reinforced the fears that time is running out for anyone hoping to leave.

"It does look like things are getting worse," said Harris Mojadedi with the East Bay's Afghan Coalition. "I think the Taliban have a really good PR strategy during the day but, at night, people are disappearing."

"I have some friends," Saddiqui said of the situation in Afghanistan. "They're telling me that the Taliban goes to people's houses at nighttime, picks up those people -- translators or whoever work for the government. At nighttime they're disappearing."

Speaking at the rally; Hayward city councilmember Aisha Wahab, the first Afghan-American woman ever elected to political office in the Bay Area. She says not only are lives at stake but America's word as well.

"I want to make it very clear to people that don't understand," Wahab said. "The United States promised people that you could come to the U.S. if you work with us, if you serve as our intelligence, if you serve as our translators, if you help us in this world. That was the deal."

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