Houstonian and US citizen stuck in Kabul with no way out: 'Hope is the best thing'

Miya Shay Image
Friday, September 3, 2021
Houstonian and US citizen stuck in Kabul with no way out
He and his wife traveled to Afghanistan earlier this summer to visit his brothers and sisters, but the swift Taliban takeover changed everything.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- He's escaped death twice in two weeks. Now, he just wants to come home to Houston.

Mo, who did not wish to be identified, is a former Afghan interpreter and a U.S. citizen. As of Thursday, he is stuck in Kabul with no way out.

"I'm a U.S. citizen and I'm here," Mo told ABC13 through a choppy Zoom connection. "Like me, there are a lot of U.S. citizens here."

Mo and his wife traveled to Afghanistan earlier this summer to visit his brothers and sisters. His return flight to Houston was booked for Aug. 31, but the swift Taliban takeover changed everything.

Mo's been trying to get out ever since.

"This is a gate pass," Mo said, showing ABC13 a printed pass from the U.S. Embassy that is supposed to guarantee the holder a safe passage through Taliban checkpoints. "If you were to have this document, you are to easily go through, but they're not letting people."

The first time he tried to go to the airport, a gun was pointed at his face.

"He took the gun ... just pointed at my face to shoot me. I was scared," Mo recalled.

He and his family quickly left.

When he tried again, the suicide bombing happened just a few feet away.

READ MORE: Evacuations resume with new urgency after Kabul airport bombing as death toll now over 160

Since then, he and his younger siblings have laid low in Kabul. They spend their days calling the White House, the U.S. Department of State, and their senator, Ted Cruz.

Meanwhile, his older brother and his parents in Houston worry for their lives.

"Hope is the best thing. It is the light of life," said Mo's older brother, who was also planning to go to Kabul in July, but changed his mind at the last minute. "The thing is ... roads are closed. You can't get out. Embassies are closed. You need a visa to get out of there [to a third country and] all the borders are shut down."

READ ALSO: Former Houston Dash goalie helps Afghan women's soccer team escape Kabul

How do you evacuate 100 young female soccer players and their families? It wasn't easy, according to Haley Carter.

The family is especially frustrated because in addition to Mo being a U.S. citizen, his younger siblings were all in the process of receiving special immigrant visas for helping the U.S. government.

Mo showed ABC13 their documents as well.

"When I became a US citizen, it was a big [moment] in my life. I wish the U.S. Government would help us from all these struggles, from all these dangers," he said.

After speaking with Mo, ABC13 reached out to Houston Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.

Her staff said they have now gotten in touch with Mo and have forwarded his documents to the state department.

For updates on the family's progress, follow ABC13 reporter Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.