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One year after Taliban takeover: Omaha Afghan-Americans say current regime doesn't meet needs of people

Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 15, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — August 15, 2021 is a day that rests heavily on Afghans living in Omaha like Mohammad Sahil. He risked his life serving as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

"When we were doing these things, we were doing them from the heart. To make sure that we have a good government. To make sure we have a good military, so the military could take care of our people," Sahil said.

For Sahil, he says he saw 20 years of war, money and investments wasted once the Taliban took over.

"We gave so much time and energy and money to that military and then we saw the fall of that military within a matter of a week which was really sad," Sahil said.

For Sher Jan Ahmadzai, UNO's Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies, the biggest loss the country suffers is the loss of democracy.

"Now we have a different era. One group dominating the politics and the governance of Afghanistan, which does not meet the demands of modern governance," Ahmadzai said.

Under Taliban rule, the people of Afghanistan are enduring one hardship after another such as high unemployment, food insecurity and school closures for girls. Ahmadzai warns there's a possibility of a humanitarian disaster in the country.

"Afghanistan is once again becoming a blackhole for terrorist groups, where they can function and threaten the rest of the world. Those are the real fears that we have for the people of Afghanistan," Ahmadzai said.

While Afghans like Sahil have built a good life in Omaha, he holds a dear place in his heart for his native country. He is hopeful the people still there can hold the same opportunities.

"They have the right to live in peace. They have the right to get education. They have the right to get jobs. We miss it and we see it every day. There is a special connection to Afghanistan because it's a land we can never forget," Sahil said.

On Friday, Afghan-American community members will hold an event in recognition of Afghan Independence Day. It's at 7:30 p.m. at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

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