Father begs for help after family split up during Afghanistan evacuation

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sitting with his 16-year-old son, Mobaraz Naseri says not a minute goes by where he's not fearing the worst for his wife and three other children left behind in Afghanistan.

"It kills me inside," he said.

The family of seven was visiting the country for the very first time since emigrating to Houston in 2013.

Naseri and his five children are all U.S. citizens. Their youngest child was born in Houston. His wife is a permanent resident.

When he booked their flight to Kabul in June, they were excited to reconnect with family and show their children the country.

They planned to stay for several months with their return flight home set for August 24.

Those tickets on Turkish Airlines were all cancelled, and when the government fell to Taliban forces, his family was left stranded.

In the chaos to flee, he filed paperwork with the U.S. State Department and joined the hundreds of thousands rushing to Kabul airport, all of them desperate to get out.

RELATED: Houston Afghan Resettlement Fund set up to help 3,000 people resettling in southeast Texas

"We tried several times, spent many hours there and we couldn't get into the airport," Naseri said.

Finally, instruction came from the State Department. Naseri said they were told to go to the Ministry of Interior Compound, which was under total Taliban control.

"Those people are not trustworthy," he recalled.

Naseri said they made the painful decision to split up. His wife, daughter and two young sons stayed behind as he and his older boys, 16 and 14-years-old, approached the Taliban with American passports.

Once inside the compound, Naseri said they were held for seven to eight hours before boarding a cargo plane home.

But there was no sense of relief.

Instead, Naseri said he was devastated.

"The rest of the family over there, left behind enemy lines, left for the mercy of the Taliban," he said.

Since his return to Houston, he's spent every day fighting to get his wife and three children home.

SEE ALSO: 4 American citizens evacuated over Afghanistan's land border, official says

Just recently, he said they were cleared to return to Houston.

Now the very family who's been housing his wife and children since August is also in jeopardy.

"If she left them and the people around them, the Taliban around in the area know that this family was sheltering an American family. What will be their consequences? They will face immediately prosecution without any judge and without any trial," Naseri said.

Naseri said he is now in a back-and-forth fight with the State Department to save the lives of his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who spent 20 years assisting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

"They have papers that I sent to the State Department that shows the proof that they helped the U.S. mission for the past 20 years," said Naseri. "They have a recommendation letter that the U.S. military forces admired their services and help with the U.S. auto forces in Afghanistan."

His brother-in-law and sister-in-law lent land to the U.S., he says, to safeguard supply trucks.

In a final attempt to be heard, Naseri turned to ABC13 to share his story and find help to bring home the rest of his family.

Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.