A 10-year-old Afghan boy who nearly got stranded in Afghanistan has now safely reached the US and his adoptive parents.
Lisa and Bahaudin Mujtaba from Florida spent five years attempting to adopt little Noman Mujtaba, their distant relative, after the boy’s biological mother passed away from cancer.
Due to unforgiving adoption laws and corruption in Afghanistan, it took the couple five long years to fix the paperwork needed to get Noman to the US.
Just as the adoption process was about to be finalized, however, the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan. To make matters worse, Noman was blocked by the insurgents as he attempted to make his way to the international airport in Kabul to escape the country and go live with his adoptive parents in Florida.
Fortunately, Noman’s dreams to leave the country have come true thanks to hardworking service members and another American who agreed to help the boy get evacuated because he was also in Afghanistan to get his own adoptive son out of the country.
“They had to basically abandon that attempt of getting inside the airport, and after 14 hours, they went home. Stayed overnight, and the next day they tried again,” Bahaudin said in an interview with NBC Miami as he opened up about Noman’s first attempt to get to the airport.
While they managed to slip through the Taliban security on their second attempt, Noman and the boy who was traveling with his adoptive father couldn’t hide from violent and shocking scenes on the way to the airport.
“My son did mention the Taliban were firing bullets into the air to disperse the crowd and he was just meters away from that, so there was a lot of pushing, shoving, and people running away and people getting stepped on, and unfortunately during the stampede, many people did get injured and did die,” Bahaudin explained.
Eventually, Noman reached the airport and boarded an evacuation plane that took him from Kabul to Qatar and Germany before his trip to the US where his adoptive parents were anxiously waiting for him. Though conditions in the crowded plane were extremely challenging, the 10-year-old made it to the US after exhausting 12 days.
“When he came to Florida, he said ‘this is America.’ So I think maybe the fact he was so close to his mom finally he feels he was home,” Bahaudin told NBC Miami.
The proud father also expressed just how happy his son was after being able to sleep in his own bed in his own bedroom for the first time in his life.
“He was pleased, happy and a pleasant experience to hear noise in that room and it’s not quiet the way it always has been over the last three years. So the fact he’s there, making noise and in his room, that’s a feeling I don’t know how to describe,” Bahaudin added.
After finally being able to give their son a big hug, Lisa and Bahaudin went on to pay a tribute to the fallen service members who died in the terrorist attack near the international airport in Kabul. They also thanked all service members who helped bring the young boy to the US.
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