The crisis in Afghanistan is hitting all too close to home for Afghan Americans who fled the country when the Taliban first took control in the 90s. Now as chaos erupts again, they fear for their families still in Afghanistan.
That’s true for Dr. Nek Nazary, former refugee from Afghanistan, and an ER doctor here in the Tampa Bay area.
“I remember the Taliban’s reign as the darkest chapter in our country’s history,” said Dr. Nazary.
Dr. Nazary was 16-years-old when he fled Afghanistan on his own back in 2000. His immediate family was able to make it out eventually as well.
“Honestly, I probably would not be alive by now if I were in Afghanistan,” said Dr. Nazary.
A young child full of dreams to one day become a doctor.
“But those dreams really got lost in my teenage years,” said Dr. Nazary.
That is until he was able to escape. He paid smugglers to help him get out of the country he once called home. He eventually found his way to the Cayman Islands where he finished high school, college and part of medical school. Then eventually he made it to the United States in 2009.
“Everything that you were deprived of in Afghanistan is what you can find here. All kinds of freedoms. And the very basic human dignity, and the sanctity of human life,” said Dr. Nazary.
Now Dr. Nazary is an ER doctor at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point living the life he once dreamed.
And for the last 20 years, something similar could be said of his extended family back in Afghanistan.
“Just before the collapse, they were in college, a couple of them got their degrees from the university,” said Dr. Nazary.
Those dreams were halted as the Taliban once again took control, and those family members are now begging Dr. Nazary to help them find a way out.
“They are very desperate, at the same time they’re hoping for a miracle,” said Dr. Nazary.
For now, that miracle may just be a helping hand. Dr. Nazary informs individuals, organizations, and government, there are things we can do to help.
“We should focus a lot on the humanitarian crisis that is the most immediate adverse outcome of this situation.”
If you'd like to help a local Tampa Bay non-profit working to welcome Afghan refugees, click here.