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How have Afghan refugees adjusted to the United States?

It's been nearly one year since the collapse of Kabul to the Taliban
Afghanistan refugee Philadelphia
Posted at 2:00 AM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 05:00:22-04

PHILADELPHIA — You are going to hear a lot about Afghanistan over the next few days as the world pauses to mark one year since the U.S. military left the country and Kabul fell back into the hands of the Taliban.

So how is the country doing? How are the Afghans who fled to the U.S. adjusting to life here?

REFUGEE PERSPECTIVE

For Noorulhaq Hadi it's a period of time that is tough to talk about.

He was one of the thousands who fled to Kabul's airport nearly one year ago, when the Taliban reclaimed power.

"[They] put my life in danger," Hadi said.

Nowadays, Hadi lives in Philadelphia — one of the fortunate Afghan citizens who was granted special humanitarian parole so he could come to the United States.

"I got to Philadelphia on October 12th," Hadi said.

Hadi knows he is one of the lucky ones.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans attempted to leave last year, but only around 120,000 were airlifted out by the U.S.

There are lots of things to talk about with Hadi as we mark one year; we could discuss human rights abuses back in Afghanistan or the economy there, which has virtually collapsed.

"There is no work," Hadi said about life in Afghanistan.

"People are really struggling—they hardly meet their primary needs," Hadi said.

But we were curious — has an Afghan family felt welcomed in the United States? Does Hadi want to stay?

"They are really respectful and I am happy," Hadi quickly replied.

If you spend any time with him you realize he is counting his blessings each and every day.

He is currently working with a non-profit in Pennsylvania that helps refugees like him get on their feet.

"I find jobs for refugees," Hadi said.

Hadi says non-profits — like HIAS Pennsylvania, which helped his family — provide valuable advice and service to new arrivals.

However, Hadi does say paychecks for Afghans in the Untied States don't go far.

Forget about inflation, many are supporting multiple families either in the U.S. or back in Afghanistan.

"Here, as an Afghan here , I support 2-3 families, because I can," Hadi said.

His goal now? Get a more permanent green card so he can stay legally in the United States for the rest of his life.

He would also like to open an Afghan restaurant.

Hadi is no doubt a refugee success story but for many non-profits responsible for helping men and women like Hadi, there is a question of whether the U.S. is unfairly limiting how many success stories can happen.

Around 93% of applications to come to the United States from Afghanistan were denied, according to CBS News.