I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: CA family headed home after beaten by Taliban, trapped in Kabul

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Saturday, September 18, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: California family headed home after trapped in Kabul
A California family who was trapped in Kabul and beaten by the Taliban, is finally on their way home.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- We broke the story nearly three weeks ago, how the family was beaten by the Taliban at the Kabul Airport and turned away -- But late Friday, the father told us in an exclusive interview that they're headed home.

We're not using their names or showing their faces because they have extended family who are still trying to flee, but ABC7 I-Team's Dan Noyes has new details of the father's work for the U.S. government and how they finally escaped.

I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: 3-year-old California boy stranded in Afghanistan

The day after Kabul fell, Dan reported on the 3-year-old boy - an American citizen, born near Sacramento - and his family members who were beaten by the Taliban at the Kabul Airport, trying to board a flight to return to California.

Late Friday, the father revealed, "They tried to get our handbags, they push a family member of our family, also children. Children cried because they shoot to our side. It was a really bad night."

He is a civil engineer who worked 11 years for the Army Corps of Engineers on important projects, like housing for Kabul's female police, a waste water treatment plant, and a morgue at the military hospital.

"Everyone who works with the US government, they are not safe," he said.

VIDEO: Taliban stop planes of evacuees from leaving Afghanistan but unclear why

Officials say at least four planes chartered to evacuate several hundred people seeking to escape the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan have been unable to leave the country for days.

James Brown is a veterans' advocate from the Peninsula who's been helping the family find a safe way out.

The family at first joined a caravan of more than a hundred others trying to leave the country, a dangerous proposition.

Then, they were advised to leave the group and go into hiding, while arrangements were made.

The father told us, "I was worried about my children. I don't care about my life, but my children is my life, so."

TAKE ACTION: How to help Afghanistan, Afghan community

Finally on Friday, they boarded a flight at the Kabul airport arranged by the US State Department, and flew to Doha, Qatar where they are overnighting, hoping to come to California this weekend. Dan Noyes asked the State Department today about the case during its daily briefing.

Dan Noyes: "I wonder what the biggest challenge was and what took three, almost three weeks to get them out."

Jalina Porter, US State Department Spokesperson: "Thanks for your question. So, for security and privacy reasons, we are unable to comment on specific and/or individual cases, but our commitment remains there that we continuing to get people out as swiftly and efficiently as possible."

Along with the 3-year-old, who is a U.S. citizen, the father, wife and five other children are U.S. Permanent Residents.

Jackie Speier and her staff have been essential in pushing the administration for action; Speier is traveling in Europe and unavailable to comment today.

There are many more of these stories, Americans still stranded, and we'll be following up.