WEDDINGTON, NC – An Afghan family is settling in Weddington following a harrowing escape from the Taliban. The independence Fund, and other Charlotte area organizations worked to get the Afghan interpreter and his family out of the country and onto US soil.
Dozens of people carrying signs and cheering for the family who now calls North Carolina home.
Afghan interpreter nicknamed “Johnny”, his wife, and three children made the trip to America following the collapse of the Afghan government and the US troop withdrawal. The Taliban seized his home and he was left with few options.
“I had the opportunity and got to the United States. So I am happy and excited,” said Johnny.
Johnny served alongside US troops during Operation Enduring Freedom. He arrived in late August and says he and his family now feel safe and hopeful for the future.
“Right now my wife and three children they are safe. There are no worries. Here we are feeling safety,” said Johnny.
“This is another brother that finally got to be here,” said Michael Verardo.
He served alongside Johnny. He was overcome with emotion when seeing his friend.
“A lot of emotions, hard to pin down, but it’s just a great feeling,” said Verardo.
Like many others, Johnny and his family gave up their homes and belongings to come to America.
“When they left Afghanistan, most of them just had a backpack. That’s it,” explained Sean Kilbane with Interpreting Freedom.
Interpreting Freedom is an organization that works to get interpreters to safety.
He says there were sleepless nights while trying to evacuate Johnny and his family.
“There were ups and downs because as they’re going through stuff, they have to shut off their phones. They have to hide their phones on their wives. Because if the Taliban found their phone and found that they were communicating with us, they would be what’s called disappeared. They would be executed,” said Kilbane.
But in the end. An important member of the allied side of the Afghanistan war is now on safe soil.
Johnny and his family will be staying with a Weddington family until they’re able to find permanent housing. They’re also going through assimilation training to get accustomed to their new lives.