South Bay woman pleads for safe return of parents blacklisted by the Taliban in Afghanistan

Luz Pena Image
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Bay Area woman pleads for parents' safe return from Afghanistan
EMBED <>More Videos

A Bay Area woman says her parents were blacklisted by the Taliban and received a letter on their door in Afghanistan that said "You are being watched."

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- According to Congressman Ro Khanna there are at least 50 Bay Area families asking the DOJ to help rescue their loved ones from Afghanistan.

ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to a South Bay resident who says her parents were blacklisted by the Taliban and need to flee.

Helay's parents helped her flee to the U.S to go to college and be free. Now she's hoping she can help them flee to safety.

"Last time I hugged them, I touched them. It was the last time I saw them at the airport. Oh God.. I miss them," said Helay.

Time is ticking. On Tuesday U.S military forces are set to leave Afghanistan.

RELATED: Biden vows to avenge Kabul airport attack deaths in emotional speech

Luz Pena: "Do you believe that if your parents stay in Afghanistan past Tuesday they could be killed?"

Helay: "Yes. God forbid. I'm scared. I'm terrified. They don't deserve that. They don't deserve it."

Helay and her two siblings are doing everything in their power to help their parents flee Kabul. They've called lawmakers across the country asking for help. Two days ago she got to see her parents over video and broke down.

"That was the moment that I said 'I don't know when I'm going to see them.' I don't know if it's possible to see them," said Helay. "My dad's voice is fading. He said he hasn't slept for nights now."

We are blurring her parent's faces for safety. Her dad worked for the Afghanistan government in key projects backed by the US.

RELATED | All 13 US troops killed in Kabul Airport attack ID'ed

What we know about the U.S. military members killed in Thursday's attack in Kabul.

"He served his country his whole life. He retired. He started in the war and he is finishing in the war and he is heartbroken. All the service that he has done for Afghanistan like everything went to waste," said Helay.

She says recently her parents were blacklisted by the Taliban. They found a letter by their door that read, "You are being watched."

Congressman Ro Khanna represents the largest Afghan community in the country. His office has been working nonstop to help families flee Afghanistan.

Luz Pena: "How many Bay Area families do you know of who are waiting to hear back from the DOJ to get family members out of Afghanistan?"

Congressman Ro Khanna: "I know of at least 50 cases."

TAKE ACTION: How to help Afghanistan, Afghan community

Congressman Khanna says the DOJ is aware of Helay's parent's situation but safety concerns are intensifying on the ground.

"It's really the decision of the president and the executive branch in terms of how they conduct a particular rescue mission. Our office will continue to advocate for this family and others," said Congressman Khanna.

As her parents lock themselves at home and wait Helay is praying for a miracle.

"How can I get them out? What else can I do? I'm here because of them. My voice is because of them. I feel responsible. I feel accountable," said Helay.