Northern California has one of the largest Afghan communities in the US and those living here are reacting to the fall of Kabul.
Many Afghan Americans have family in Afghanistan still and are worried for their safety as the Taliban secures their control over the country. Thousands of civilians desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport's single runway on Monday after the Taliban seized the capital, prompting the United States to suspend evacuations. Some clung to a U.S. military transport plane as it taxied on the runway, according to footage posted by private Afghan broadcaster Tolo news.
Amid criticism over the chaos, President Joe Biden on Monday defended his withdrawal and blamed the Taliban's takeover on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the U.S.-trained Afghan army to fight the military group, according to Reuters.
At least 60,000 Afghans live in the San Francisco Bay Area, estimated the Fremont-based Afghan Coalition's executive director Rona Popal, likely making it the largest Afghan community in the United States.Some came as early as the 1980s, fleeing the Soviet invasion, while others arrived recently under Special Immigration Visas granted to at-risk Afghans who worked for the U.S. government. Jawid Amerian, 31, who runs an Afghan food import business in Fremont after arriving in the United States five years ago, said he feels helpless when he speaks to his tearful mother back home. Amerian, originally from Herat, criticized the Biden administration's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
"The timeline was not right. I wish the Biden administration had made a better decision and had not let the country be destroyed by this extremist group," said Amerian. "We do not know what is happening tomorrow in Afghanistan."