Afghan who's now in Houston fears the worst for his family 'I'm not going to see them again'

His family currently stuck in the country after gunmen attacked crowds flocking to Kabul's airport.

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Friday, August 27, 2021
Afghan who's now in Houston fears worst for his family
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"I'm 90% sure that I am not going to see them again," he said.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houstonian from Afghanistan has family currently stuck in the chaotic country.

He was so worried about their safety that he didn't want ABC13 to show their faces.

Mahboobullah Sahil said his brother barely escaped the deadly chaos outside the Kabul airport on Thursday.

"He had his documents in hand. He was trying to get inside the airport so he can fly and leave Afghanistan," Sahil said.

Huge crowds of Afghans had been showing American soldiers their documents at the airport.

On Thursday, two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

The U.S. general overseeing the evacuation said the attacks would not stop the United States from evacuating Americans and others, and flights out were continuing.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said there was a large amount of security at the airport, and alternate routes were being used to get evacuees in. About 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield, McKenzie said.

"Thanks to God, he was too far from the gate and the place the bomb blast happened," Sahil said. "So, he ran away."

Sahil said he and his brothers worked for the American military, which makes their family a target for the Taliban and terror groups like ISIS-K.

"They are the enemy of Afghanistan, and my enemies, too, because they are hurting my people back in Afghanistan," he said.

The images of the dead and injured were difficult to digest.

The only connection Sahil had with his family to make sure they were safe was his cell phone, which he kept close by.

"Afghanistan is still my country," he said. "It's my motherland. I'm going to love my country how much I love my parents and my family. So, I was worried, and I keep calling them."

On Thursday, Sahil's father told him the family was planning to stay away from the airport gates.

That left Sahil wondering if they would ever make it out.

"I don't think so," he told ABC13. "If I'm going to see them again or not ... I'm 90% sure that I am not going to see them again."

That's something Sahil blamed on the Taliban, but also the Afghan and U.S. governments as the violence ramped up and the troops drew down.

"When all the military and all the soldiers leave Afghanistan, I don't know what's going happen after that," he said. "I don't know what the Taliban will do ... ISIS. I don't have any idea. I know, for sure, that very bad and different things will be happening in Afghanistan."

That withdrawal of American troops was still scheduled to happen at the end of the month.

In an emotional speech from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden said the latest bloodshed would not drive the U.S. out of Afghanistan earlier than scheduled, and that he had instructed the U.S. military to develop plans to strike IS.

"We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said.

VIDEO: Pres. Biden's remarks after Kabul attack

U.S. officials initially said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died.

Another service member died hours later. Eighteen service members were wounded and officials warned the toll could grow. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.

Meanwhile, a professor of political science at Rice University said the way the Taliban governs and handles extremist groups will play a big role in how the country rebuilds and whether they will get global assistance.

"Will the Taliban say, you know, 'We can't let groups like this do things like they did [Thursday]?' Again, that goes back to whether they want to be seen as a legit international actor," said Dr. Richard Stoll. "If they do, they, at least, have to try to reign in extremist groups willing to commit dramatic acts of violence."

Stoll also said a majority of the American electorate supported the withdrawal and will prioritize domestic issues in the midterm election in 2022.