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Mother and her baby safely reach Charlottesville after fleeing Taliban

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - An Afghan family is reunited after a mother and her baby were stuck trying to flee the Taliban.

Farida Mehrzad and her 1-year-old Sikandar Sultan were seen in a video pleading with an officer outside the airport in Kabul, trying to get to the United States where her husband was living.

“They were firing gunshots next to a 1-year-old baby and a woman who was pregnant, and they had to stay there to get into the airport,” Farida’s husband, Mohammad Sultan, said.

Mohammad, translating for Farida, explains that she was showing the officers outside the airport her son’s U.S. passport and birth certificate, but they would not let them inside because they were not sure if it was real.

But, Farida’s persistence led her to finally getting on a plane.

“She was so lucky. She showed it to the people from inside the airport personnel, the document,” Mohammad said. “They said, ‘OK, of course, come in.’”

Farida and her baby got on a plane just a few hours before a suicide attack killed more than 60 people outside the airport.

“Literally a three-hour difference, because they took off at 2 o’clock,” Mohammad said.

Finally, after a long trip, Farida and Sikandar landed in the U.S. for the very first time. Farida is one of hundreds settling in Charlottesville.

“We’re potentially doubling at least the number of people we work with,” International Rescue Committee Executive Director Harriet Kuhr said. “We’re anticipating a couple of hundred of people in Charlottesville, and it’s probably a number similar to the number we might resettle of refugees over a whole 12-month year.”

As for this young family, Farida, Mohammad, and Sikandar are thankful to be back together as they start a new chapter in Charlottesville.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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