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Bay Area Afghans Getting Troubling Picture From Relatives of Chaos Back Home

FREMONT (KPIX 5) -- Afghan expatriates who live in the Bay Area tell KPIX 5 they are receiving disturbing images of the sudden Taliban takeover of their native country from relatives still living there.

There are 60,000 Afghans in the Bay Area, many who reside in Fremont. In Fremont's Little Kabul neighborhood sits Maiwand Market, a place where many Afghan-Americans can get the flavors of home.

Mo Bashir came to the market Monday get his Afghan naan bread. He picked up the fluffy loaves with a heavy heart over the Taliban takeover and for those who lost their lives in the past 20 years of war.

"When I heard it, I could not believe it. Not only for the people of Afghanistan, but the mother and father who lost who their beautiful kid that we send over there to fight for this country," Bashir told KPIX 5.

Bashir was among the first Afghans to settle in Fremont in 1979. Monday night, he is praying for his home country and the soliders and families of his adopted one, who spent two decades on the ground pushing back the Taliban.

"I stay here, I raise my family. Their kid went out there. They took the fight. They did it. I have feeling now and forever that will never go away," said Bashir.

He lays blame for the Taliban takeover on the Afghani President, who has since fled the country.

"Last night when I saw a bunch of terrorists sitting in President's palace -- President Ashraf Ghani was in service of the terrorists. He was promoting terrorism," said Bashir. "He's the one to blame and he's the one who got us to this mess today and it's a shame that we didn't recognize this early enough to do something about it. Right now, it's not too late. I hope the world recognizes this."

Last Friday morning, owner of Dublin's Khyber Pass Kabobs and a first generation Afghan-American Mariam Nasiri got a WhatsApp message from her cousin in Kabul asking for money before the Taliban arrived in the Afghan capital. She wired cash and woke up Sunday morning to this reality facing her family.

"Sunday morning, I received another message saying, 'It's 8 o'clock in the morning Mariam and the Taliban have taken over our capitol,'" she told KPIX 5.

Her cousin sent photos of the Taliban already roaming the streets of Kabul. She is terrified for what the future holds for the women in her family under Taliban control.

"They are knocking on every house now and asking them how many women are in each household. They are raising a red flag if there are women in that home. They are raising a green flag if there are no women in that home," said Nasiri. ?What is going to happen to the future of these women in Afghanistan? These little girls? We are blessed to be here in America, but we do not know what the future holds for these women."

Nasiri's family came to the United States as refugees in 1982, escaping the Soviet War. She says watching the evacuation images is heartbreaking for her family.

"I felt like we turned our backs as Americans to the Afghans. The images, the videos of the Afghans holding onto an airplane - they're holding on for their life," she said. "They're making a statement saying, 'I will give up my life, but please make sure you take care of my country.'"


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