When the last American aircraft left Afghanistan on Monday, the hopes of thousands of Afghans who believed that the United States would save them from the Taliban disappeared with it into the clouds above Kabul.
Afghan allies said their emotions vacillated from fear and anger to sadness and outright panic that the government they had spent two decades supporting had left many in the clutches of the Taliban, a group known for its violent and vengeful tendencies against those who worked with coalition forces.
Taliban fighters stand guard as Afghans, hoping to leave Afghanistan, walk through the main entrance gate of Kabul airport on August 28, 2021.Wakil Koshar / AFP via Getty Images
“We thought America was going to save our country,” said Shakila, an Afghan living in Washington, D.C., whose family had to remain in Afghanistan when she received a visa in 2019. “We thought America was going to make our country safe, but they are ignoring us. They are ignoring those Afghans that worked for them, and they’re going to leave them behind.”
Shakila, whose last name is not being used to protect her family, said she has gone weeks with little sleep as she thinks about her siblings and her elderly mother whom she left behind. Since the Taliban began to take control of the country, she has spent each night after she gets off work talking to other Afghan immigrants and attempting to find ways to get her family out of Afghanistan.
The hours spent on the effort are long, but they have proved fruitless for many.