Afghans in Houston worry as they struggle to reach loved ones: 'I don't know their whereabouts'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Thousands of people from Afghanistan live in Houston, and many are watching helplessly while the Taliban takes over.

"I have some [relatives] that are basically all living together in basements. I have some that were able to actually flee the country into neighboring countries, and then I also have some where I don't know where they are. I don't know their whereabouts yet," Dr. Hoda Sana explained.

Sana, who lives in West University, hasn't been able to reach her cousin, who was the Afghan government's Minister of Women's Affairs.

Phone lines are down and internet service is spotty in many parts of Afghanistan. She said her family members were anxious when the United States started to withdraw troops, but they did not think the Taliban would take over so quickly.

They thought they had more time.

"The Taliban, there are rumors that they are reformed or not reformed or all these different rumors," Sana said. "Nobody's quite sure exactly what will happen, and every day is kind of unfolding very slowly."

Sana worked as a teacher in Afghanistan, and along with relatives, helped to build schools and other services in the war-torn country.

Now, she worries that her students, especially the girls, will not be able to continue their educational pursuits.

"What does this really mean for our future? I just feel like my country is being set back so much by this," she explained. "I want people to know that the Taliban is not a representation of Afghans or the Afghan people and I want people to know that we're seeing a huge influx of Afghan refugees in other countries right now and government agencies can really only do so much. So really, amplifying Afghan voices and efforts is going to be key in really helping those in need."

Sana and others in Houston have been working with a nonprofit organization to help provide aid.

LATEST UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AFGHANISTAN:

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