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Afghan sisters, mother looking for new home in St. Charles 6 months after escaping from the Taliban | Headline News St. Louis


ST. CHARLES (KMOV.com) – The photos are all Fatima and Zahra Nazari have of their life in Afghanistan.

Fatima is a nationally known female skier, while her older sister Zahra helps women start their own businesses at the town’s market.

“It never occurred to us that we would have to leave,” Fatima said. “Never.”

In 2019, Zahra was shopping with her mother when Andy Bass stopped. Bass, lives in St. Charles, was in town acclimatizing with a friend before the upcoming marathon.

“He bought some rugs and some things from the craft market, and then we became friends on Facebook,” she said.

Bass said: “She was the likeliest and most welcoming salesperson ever.

The two kept in touch via Facebook for the next few years. But last August, when the United States announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan, Taliban fighters began invading the surrounding provinces.

“At first, we stayed because I didn’t want to leave,” said Zahra. “I want to stay to help with food, uniforms, and help the townspeople.”

She said that as the Taliban fighters got closer, the situation became dangerous, she had a horrifying conversation with a local military commander.

“He said he would agree to send someone from the military to kill me before the Taliban could get close to me,” she said. “The women who were sold to other countries by the Taliban… it’s horrible.”

Zahra said four of Nazari’s uncles, grandparents and older sister had been killed by the Taliban before.

The sisters and their mother later fled to Kabul, where Bass continued to communicate with them via Facebook. A former US Marine, he was able to secure visas for the women. But, reaching the Kabul airport will be a difficult task.

“We were very afraid that the Taliban would find us where we are,” she said. “We wore burkas and they could only see our eyes. We were at the airport for 10 days and nights trying to get through.”

As the world watched the ensuing chaos outside the Kabul airport, Nazari and her family lived it.

She said: “We were so worried we couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and we were screaming a lot. “We don’t have anyone to help us, to save us, that’s… it’s like hell.”

The women eventually reached a US service member, who reviewed their paperwork and let them through. They flew to Germany and eventually to the United States. Once processed, they were taken to a refugee camp in Indiana, where they stayed for about three months.

“Mr. Bass kept talking to us on Facebook and checking on us, he brought us clothes, we had nothing,” Zahra said. “He’s a superhero.”

In November, Bass took the three women back to his home, where they were building new lives. They are in the process of preparing the necessary paperwork and identification to get to work and hope to get their own apartment and car.

“We are lucky, we are in the US now, we have a good life, I hope,” Fatima said.

Bass said that after hearing what the women went through, he had a new perspective on life.

“When you see people going through what they went through to get here, and when you see people handing babies over the fence to the Marines to get them out of their situation, That tells you what America is,” Bass said.

Go-Fund-Me was founded to help women stand up. You can donate here.

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