Afghani citizen comes to Bakersfield

Refugee fears for family

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An Afghani refugee who came to Bakersfield for a better life has encountered more hardships.

Zalmai Ahadi was granted political asylum after he worked ten years for U.S. Government interests in Afghanistan. Now he fears for the safety of his family who are still there, as he struggles to survive here.

Ahadi has recently started over in the country he supported while living in Afghanistan.

"As far as I know, I am safe in the United States, but I am a beggar, jobless and concerned," said Ahadi.

That concern is for his wife, three kids and five brothers who are still in Afghanistan.

"I received political asylum, now I am looking for my children to join me. However, I am not happy with the system of the paperwork of the U.S. Government," said Ahadi.

Ahadi worked as a journalist for American interest while in Afghanistan, a job that put his life at risk everyday.

"There are thousands of Afghani people who have risked their lives for ten years and are now trying to escape," said Denice Gary-Pandol, Middle East Specialist.

American troops are expected to pull out of the region next year.

"When you look to the future, how you treat individuals who are your friends now, will also determine whether you have more friends that will stand up for America. We want to make sure we stand by those who stood by us," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip.

Middle East experts say the Taliban could bring terror to those who supported the U.S.

"Terrorist groups announced those people working with the U.S. Government will be martyred, kidnapped and punished," said Ahadi.

In the meantime, Ahadi is going to school to learn English so he can get a job and support his family when they arrive.

"This is a well-educated man that risked his life for ten long years, and his family. After everything he has done for this country, it's a shame he is here begging for a job," said Pandol.

Ahadi said he has a difficult time studying in school because he is constantly worried about his family.

"They are my whole life. Without them, the worth of life is of no valued to me. I miss them. I want them to come as soon as possible," said Ahadi.

Political experts said it is common for someone seeking political asylum to leave the country before their family.

Congressman McCarthy said the process for Ahadi's family to get to the United States is under way., but Ahadi said, the process has been caught up in red tape for almost a year.

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