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Family reunited in Utah after Taliban takeover in Afghanistan last year

Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 18, 2022

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — It has been a little more than a year since Kabul fell to the Taliban, forcing many to evacuate Afghanistan.

FOX 13 News told you last August about Siraj Matin, whose nephew was unable to get out at that time.

"Last time I saw him was in 2006," said Matin.

After 16 years, Matin says he was reunited with his nephew, Nasir Ahmad Afzali, early Thursday when Afzali, his wife and three young children made it to Utah.

"I gave him a hug, I could feel he was shaking like I could not believe it," said Matin.

Matin says he has spent 10 years, since 2012, trying to bring his nephew to the U.S.

"It's been really difficult, especially for him, it was okay and in some sense, until the Taliban takeover, then at that point he was really the target," said Matin.

Afzali worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, experiencing many of the dangers they saw during their time over in Afghanistan.

"I was walking that the mine was under the culvert, So it blew, when the explosion happened, just threw me, like maybe 10 meters farther," said Afzali.

Afzali says when Kabul fell to the Taliban last year, he made several attempts to get his family, as well as himself to the airport.

"We went to find a way how we should get the family to get inside the airport, the explosion, 20 minutes away from that explosion," said Afzali.

Back in Utah, Matin says he worked constantly, contacting the offices of Sen. Mitt Romney, Sen. Mike Lee and groups like the Dole Foundation to get his nephew's paperwork pushed through so it could be approved.

Matin says Afzali and his family spent the past three months in Qatar before their visa was approved to come to Utah.

Reunited after so long, Matin and Afzali say they are happy to be together again.

"I'm grateful him being here, being here alive," said Matin.

For Afzali, he is also grateful to be safe.

"I live in a safe place, after this, I don't, I don't have any fear to lose my life," said Afzali.

Matin says his nephew will be in Salt Lake City for a week to get paperwork sorted out for his family. After that, he says they will be living with him down in southern Utah.