LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/CBS News) — Afghan immigrants in the Southland are already finding ways to help out at home as the crisis in Afghanistan continues.
Local veterans told CBSLA Monday they are disturbed by the developments happening in Afghanistan.
“I’ve had some text messages from people who are saying, ‘why were we there?'” said Nancy Sumner, a veteran. “I just said, ‘we did a great mission. We did what we needed to do. We’ve saved lives.'”
An Orange County woman who volunteers with relief organizations says she’s expecting several dozen special visa holder families to arrive in Southern California from Afghanistan within the next few days.
“I work with refugees… so far, we’re expecting 42 families with their children,” volunteer Sonik Sadozai said. “They will keep coming the next few days, maybe this week.”
A decade ago, Orange County’s Ernie Hernandez went to Afghanistan as a chief warrant officer in the Marine Corps. Now a pastor in San Clemente, Hernandez said the crisis in the nation reminds him of the sacrifice many American service members have made.
“I just sit back and think about how many young men and women — Americans — stepped up to defend our freedoms and answered the nation’s call… and to see it back to where it seems to be going is tragic,” Hernandez said.
The safety in Afghanistan for people who worked with the American government in jobs including translators, drivers and cooks, is of paramount concern for Afghans living in Southern California.
“They worked with Americans in Afghanistan and their life is in danger,” Sadozai said.
What’s happening in Afghanistan?
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Sunday.
According to CBS News, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani left the country Sunday, joining others in a flight from the country.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul was evacuated Sunday night, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who said, “all Embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the U.S. Military.”
Americans watched from home as
defended the decision to move forward with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, saying Monday he stands “squarely behind” it.
Biden’s remarks came after a chaotic day at the Kabul airport as evacuations were halted for several hours after at least two people died.
“How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?” Biden said. “How many more lives, American lives, is it worth, how many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?”
Mr. Biden acknowledged the Taliban had taken over faster than expected, but also insisted “there was never a good time to withdraw” troops.