Kamel* is an Afghanistan native who, opposing the Taliban, has endured significant danger during his life in his home country. He believes the Taliban’s ideology is oppressive and refuses to support their regime. This led to him being persecuted and twice having to seek refuge.
During the Taliban’s rule in the nineties, Kamel was targeted and imprisoned. He was able to connect with a friend who helped him escape. Kamel left Afghanistan for a long time before he returned to his country. Living abroad and without immigration status, he worked odd jobs. When the United States military came to Afghanistan, he returned to his home country ready to help build a new Afghanistan free of Taliban rule.
Back in his country, he worked for a successful construction company. With his team, he built a multitude of buildings and structures throughout Afghanistan, but his success was not as peaceful as it seemed. Because of the nature of his work, Kamel frequently worked with the U.S. or persons funded by the U.S. Over the years, Kamel routinely was contacted by the Taliban threatening him and his family. In the eye of the Taliban, this was an act of betrayal. “The callers were quite vivid in their threats, and would describe the horrors that would happen to those who worked with Americans.” They discovered Kamel’s address and began tracking his movement and interactions.
Fearful of the safety of his family, Kamel moved, changed his phone number, and resigned from his place of work. He had hoped the Taliban would lose interest in him after his resignation, but to his dismay, their threats did not cease. Even at his new job, he received terrifying calls and saw suspicious people following him in places he frequented.
One day Kamel received news that one of his coworkers was killed by the Taliban. Saddened and stressed, Kamel decided to resign from yet another company, this time opting to work for himself. However, this changed nothing. No place was safe from the Taliban’s wrath. Kamel found out even his daughter was being followed by their members.
When the Taliban fully seized control of Afghanistan in 2021, Kamel knew it would only be time before his home was raided and his family attacked. Gathering his wife and children, Kamel made the journey to the airport. He was evacuated by U.S. military forces, but Afghan nationals like Kamel were not automatically offered the opportunity to stay in the U.S. To do so, they would have to navigate the complex U.S. immigration system.
Arriving in San Diego, Kamel reached out to Casa Cornelia Law Center for representation. In April 2023, he and his family members were granted asylum. Having been granted refuge in the United States, Kamel plans to move forward and establish a peaceful life for his family.
* Name and image have been changed to protect client’s confidentiality.