Attorneys say Bay Area Afghans hit devastating roadblocks getting families out of Kabul

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Bay Area Afghans struggle to help families flee Kabul
Nearly a week after Afghanistan fell to Taliban forces, the situation on the ground is as desperate as ever.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nearly a week after Afghanistan fell to Taliban forces, the situation on the ground is as desperate as ever.

"He is very terrified of what's going to happen to his family," said Ann Block, an immigration attorney.

RELATED: Concern grows over evacuations of US citizens, allies from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Block is working with a man who lives in Castro Valley, whose wife and children are still stuck in Kabul.

She says the family has tried to get to the airport on four occasions this week, only to be unsuccessful or turned around every time.

RELATED: Family stuck in Afghanistan describes horrifying situation in the streets

A physician's family in Afghanistan is speaking to ABC7 News about the terrifying situation there.

"They can't leave. They can't get here. It's too dangerous for them even to go to the airport. I've never had that situation occur. In 35 years, I've practiced immigration law for 35 years," Block said.

It's stories such as these that Spojmie Nasiri is hearing too.

The East Bay immigration attorney is working with around 50 Afghan families. She says her clients have faced stampedes, tear gas, gun fire and Taliban checkpoints.

According to Spojmie and Block, the state department says all of their clients qualify to be evacuated back to the U.S. and have been given visa paperwork.

RELATED: Biden's pledge to Americans in Kabul: 'We will get you home'

And yet - things are still going wrong.

"They inundated this visa paper where everybody could go and get it whether you're a citizen, a resident, a pending case, or you just wanted to get out of Afghanistan. So the soldiers started saying, that case is not real, it doesn't have your name on it, it doesn't have your case number on it. Therefore those who legitimately needed to get in, could not get in, and still cannot get in," Nasiri said.

But despite the terror and confusion, the attorneys say one thing remains clear.

"We need to be able to get these people out. That relied on us, that trusted the U.S. Government to do right by them. And there has to be a way to do that," Block said.