AUSTIN (KXAN) – “It’s not an airport, it’s a front-line war.”
This is how Rafi Azim, a former U.S. military interpreter and now resident in Austin, describes the Kabul scene as thousands of people tried to flee after the Taliban took full control of the city.
Azim is bruised and scrapes all over his body. He said he doesn’t know how he lives. He returned to Austin Saturday night.
“Everything seemed like a dream,” Azim said. “When I look at this image, I have the feeling that I was one of them? Because he had lost hope.
Azim said he returned to Afghanistan in early August to help move relatives to a safer area. But he was trapped, which hit him with the Taliban armed with U.S. military equipment.
At the airport, Azim said the Taliban are on one side and the U.S. military on the other. He came out on the third day trying to escape, Azim said.
“The American pushed the crowd back, at the same time, the crowd pushed forward. And I was in the corner of the crowd, “said Azim. “One of the American sergeants tried to shoot into the air, as a warning shot as they do all the time … and then he pulled out the gun and that’s when he fired the gun, just “When he pulled me down, he hit my pants and made a hole in me. He didn’t touch my leg.”
Azim said a U.S. soldier asked if Azim was shot. “I said yes. It was a complete lie, I understand. He grabbed me … and threw me into the American crowd,” Azim said.
Azim was with his brothers and lost control when he was dragged.
“I grabbed two of my brothers and lost control,” he said. “I shouted,‘ My brothers! “And I’m sorry, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do anything right now. I still feel guilty. I should have stayed with them.’
Azim said on his trip back to the United States that he helped translate, trying his best to help others who were in a stressful situation.
While he stands firm with what he has, he said he will continue to contact representatives of the U.S. government to ensure that everyone, including his family, is safe.
Azim asked, “Is there anyone who can answer me, where are the human rights?”
KXAN has been in contact with another performer who has not yet been able to leave Afghanistan. When this performer tried the other day, he said he and his family were beaten up in the chaotic crowd, trying to flee the country.
This is a developing story that we will follow closely.