NJ resident praying for the return of 12-year-old sister, parents stranded in Afghanistan

The State Department says about 300 Americans are still in Afghanistan and trying to get out. At least three of them are from New Jersey, including a mother, a father and a 12-year-old girl, who were in Afghanistan this summer to visit family.

News 12 Staff

Aug 29, 2021, 2:06 PM

Updated 959 days ago

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There are growing concerns that Americans could be left behind in Afghanistan when the U.S. military withdraws in just two days, and that could include Americans from New Jersey.
The State Department says about 300 Americans are still in Afghanistan and trying to get out. At least three of them are from New Jersey, including a mother, a father and a 12-year-old girl, who were in Afghanistan this summer to visit family.
Left behind in Passaic County for school and work was Mohshen Sherifi, their 20-year-old son, who now waits anxiously for their return.
“I've been praying for them, I've been keeping faith,” says Sherifi. “I'm trying to keep a positive attitude towards it, trying to tell myself ‘They're going to come home, they will be home’."
Sherifi says his parents and sister had a return ticket for a flight to the U.S. It was supposed to land Wednesday night, but all commercial flights were canceled two weeks ago, when the Taliban advanced on Kabul.
His parents were in Afghanistan to bring his grandmother to the U.S. She was just recently approved for a special immigrant visit.
During a summer where he is still working at his family's restaurant and going to college, Sherifi is spending his days desperately calling members of Congress, the White House and the State Department.
News 12 was told the offices of Sen. Bob Menendez and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill are working on getting Sherifi’s family out. But with passage to the airport near impossible, Mohsen is facing the reality his family may not be out before the final U.S. withdrawal on August 31, and his family's safety will hinge on the promises of the Taliban.
Sherifi worries how his family can be assured that they can get through Taliban checkpoints and to the airport.
The Abbey Gate in Kabul was the site of the suicide bombing last week that killed 13 American service members and nearly 200 Afghans.
“I've always heard that the value of your parents is, like, enormous. And they mean a lot to you,” says Sherifi. “But I never really saw it myself, because there's never been a time my parents were in a situation like this.”
Amid the chaos in Afghanistan, Sherifi says he wishes he had not stayed in the U.S., but went with his family because at least they would be together, as a family.


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