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Treasure Valley Organizations Are Working To Reunite Afghan Refugee Families

Under dim light of the sun on the horizon, a line of people wait on the tarmac as they enter a plane. In black bold letters near the cockpit windows it reads "US Air Force".
Shakib Rahmani
AFP/Getty Images
Afghan people queue up and board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan.

Idaho has so far welcomed 36 Afghan refugees to resettle here this year. But as the U.S. military withdrawal in Afghanistan evolves, that number will likely increase.

The International Rescue Committee in Idaho has helped refugees resettle in the state for the past 15 years. Georgette Sisqueros, the nonprofit’s Development and Community Engagement Coordinator, said the situation in Afghanistan has intensified the need for those caught in the conflict to be reunited in Idaho.

“A lot of our team have been working nonstop and talking to families who are just trying to do whatever they can to get their loved ones here,” said Sisqueros. 

Many of the Afghan nationals resettled here are on special immigrant visas given to people who worked as translators for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

The urgency of this situation comes as many resettlement agencies are still recovering from cutbacks during the Trump administration. But Sisqueros said the community support she’s seeing gives her hope.

"We're still getting people who are asking, you know, what can I do to help? How can I volunteer? What is needed?" she said.  

Her agency, along with others in the Treasure Valley, are raising money to pay for application fees and programs to help people get settled. She said it's also important to understand the history and context of what is happening in Afghanistan.

Sisqueros doesn't know what will happen next, but hopes the U.S. government will resettle as many refugees from Afghanistan as possible.

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Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

Gustavo Sagrero was a newsroom intern in 2021.

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