CHARLOTTE — An Afghan refugee is calling on the Charlotte community for help.
Ahmad Rasoul moved his family to the United States to escape the Taliban. The Rasouls lived in a tent in Texas for three months before moving to Charlotte, when the unspeakable happened. His wife was killed in a tragic accident in north Charlotte, leaving him to raise their three young children.
23-year-old Nabila Rasoul was walking with Enedina Fernandez, 75, in February when they were hit by a car on East W.T. Harris Boulevard at Duncroft Lane.
Police said the driver was impaired.
Ahmad Rasoul is now raising 5-year-old Baktash, 3-year-old Armaghan and baby Diyana without his wife.
He told Channel 9′s Erica Bryant what life is like now and what could make all the difference going forward.
“This is difficult for us, because every day, maybe after an hour, and (every) day one time, two times a day, they are asking me, ‘Where’s my mom?’” Rasoul told Channel 9.
Since the crash, a local nursery has been providing child care at a discounted rate for the children, and Rasoul has found a job.
“It is difficult,” he said. “Actually, it’s difficult for me right now.”
The service is helping Rasoul improve his family’s quality of life.
The Rasoul family has also been embraced by their community. The Rasouls rented a home from Sam and Carol Hatcher, who have “adopted” them.
“If a member of your family was in trouble, you would step up and help them, and they have become kind of like family to us,” Sam Hatcher said.
Since Nabila’s death, the Hatchers have been especially engaged with the children. The Hatchers have also been mounting an effort to bring their grandparents -- Ahmad’s parents -- over from Afghanistan to help.
“So we need help with someone that could sponsor his parents,” Sam Hatcher said. “Ahmad can’t because he’s not a U.S. citizen, and our government requires a sponsor to act as a sponsor for the parents.”
Hatcher said they’ve been told the U.S. has received 80,000 applications for humanitarian parole, which is permission to stay in the U.S. due to emergency humanitarian reasons.
“When you agree to sponsor somebody, in this case, you’re basically committing to the federal government that, if they ever become a burden to our government, you will support them for 10 years after they arrive,” Hatcher said.
Rasoul remains concerned about his parents, as the climate remains tense in his home country.
“We are very, very scared about Taliban,” he said. “Because we are under attack, and everywhere. We’re not safe.”
He’s grateful for what he’s found in the Queen City, and prays his parents can join him and the children soon.
“When my parents (are) coming here and living with me, together, we can continue our lives together and better,” Rasoul said.
Representatives from Save Our Allies, which rescues people from conflict zones, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ office, attended Nabila’s funeral, offering their support.
That support was encouraging for the Rasouls and Hatchers.
“We’re hoping that Sen. Tillis, his office, could help,” Sam Hatcher said. “They’ve reached out to us as well. And maybe even the president himself could just make that happen.”
Statement from Tillis’ Office:
“We are aware of the situation with Mr. Rasoul and have spoken with him and his advocates. Once the official application has been submitted for his parents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, our office is prepared to inquire on behalf of the family. In addition to Mr. Rasoul our office has remained in contact with hundreds of Afghan individuals.”
Save Our Allies Statement:
“As we serve catastrophically wounded Veterans - many share an innate bond with their Afghan counterparts. It’s an issue we’ve been blessed to serve as it’s deeply personal to those of us in the MilVet community. My TIF team reached out to Mr. Hatcher to see how we could best financially support the family as they grieved the loss - we’ve offered the support of our local Afghan network and financial resources. The Independence Fund employs several local newly arrived Afghans at our HQ in Charlotte.
“For Save Our Allies, we continue to attempt to help those that have the legal ability to leave AFG. The overseas work of SOA is completely separate from TIF. Unfortunately, as you know movement of those still trapped in AFG is done entirely with private funding and no support from the US Gov. As such, only American Citizens and fully approved SIV are eligible to come to the US through legal and official channels. In earlier months our pathway was more viable and we were able to move some in the pending pathway to neighboring countries to Afghanistan. This is not currently an option due to lack of willingness from the administration to open additional resources and of course the brutality and difficulty of the Taliban.
“I’ve added in my co-founder Nick Palmisciano as he recently spent 48 days in the Middle East trying to help this very population. Nick can shed light on our current capabilities in the region. I believe Meaghan advised Mr Hatcher that since Save Our Allies is not a government agency we cannot force the US government nor act in their behalf. We also stated that should our capabilities open back up we would absolutely assist the family if they have the legally required paperwork and are accepted by the US Gov. We suggest that constituents should contact their member of congress with these issues, but ultimately we also know that the action must come from the administration.
“We will continue to be a champion for these people - our Afghan Allies to whom we owe so much. Although Save Our Allies is grateful for the work we’ve done thus far - evacuating more than 17,000 Americans and Allies from Afghanistan, we are frustrated as we know the mission is far from over.”
(Watch past coverage in the video below: Mother of 3, who fled Afghanistan, was one of 2 women killed in northeast Charlotte crash)
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