US family trapped in Afghanistan successfully escapes with just days to go before deadline

The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan had been able to reach the family on Friday.

August 30, 2021, 11:49 AM

The State Department announced Friday that it had made contact with 500 U.S. citizens who still needed to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Among them was the wife and children of Hewad, a U.S. citizen living in California.

“I'm worried. I'm worried about my family who are stranded in Kabul, Afghanistan, for the past two weeks,” Hewad, who asked ABC News to use only his first name, recently told ABC News. “We have been trying everything possible to get them out but there is no way.”

Hewad’s wife had taken their two young children to Afghanistan last month to visit a sick family member. When the Taliban reclaimed power earlier this month, they quickly became trapped, Hewad said.

“They are in danger. The whole family is in danger,” said Hewad. “Everyone [is] a citizen... I am afraid for their life. I may lose them or they may die.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the evacuation of American citizens and their families, SIV applicants and their families, and vulnerable Afghans from Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House complex, Aug. 20, 2021.
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Hewad’s wife, who asked not to be named, went into hiding while he and attorney Richard Sterger worked from the U.S. to organize the family’s documents so that they could be evacuated safely.

ABC News and Hewad were able to speak to his wife on Thursday after the terrorist attack around the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. servicemen. The death toll of Afghan civilians is reported to be up to 170 and nearly 200 wounded according to an official at the ministry of public health who spoke on condition of anonymity with ABC News.

During the call, she told him the family had planned to go to the airport that day but ultimately decided not to

“We're thankful that we didn't go because they’re hurt,” she said.. “That's why we decided to stay hidden.”

Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 25, 2021.
Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP

Amid the chaos, President Joe Biden said Monday during a press conference that he would not extend the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops. Hewad said that he and his wife were losing hope.

“We were hoping to get out, but now I don't think we would be able to do that,” said Hewad’s wife.

Hours later, her outlook changed. On Friday, ABC News learned that the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan had been able to reach Hewad’s family and that they were given an evacuation plan. She and the children were able to get on a flight to safety.

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