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Afghan-American Fargo man reflects on new U.S. citizenship amid continued Taliban takeover

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 3:57 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - There’s snow on the ground outside the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo. It’s quiet, unassuming. But inside–

162 people are being sworn in as new U.S. citizens.

Noor Zazai is from Afghanistan where he worked as an interpreter with the U.S. Army for five years.

His story is one you’re probably familiar with. After working for the U.S., Zazai applied for and was granted a special immigration visa.

“It was tough for us. Like we risked our life to work with the U.S. Army,” Zazai said.

He asked to wear a mask to conceal his face during the interview his wife didn’t want to be on camera at all. Though they may be safe, Zazai’s mom and much of his wife’s family are still in Afghanistan.

“Me my wife, every single day we are thinking about our families, which is their life is in danger, " he said.

And the Taliban are a very real threat.

“There is no peace over there. They are targeting people. They are killing people without any reasons,” Zazai said, adding “They are trying to be nice with the foreign countries, saying ‘Hey, we will allow girls to go to the school,’ but from the day that [the Taliban] came, we have the family members, the girls, they are not going to school.”

It’s his first time on camera, and he told me his story is about so much more than himself. He’s requesting that the U.S. government work to bring more Afghans to the country, to safety. At the same time, he realizes not everyone can leave.

“I love my country, but if we take everyone from Afghanistan, there will be no more Afghanistan,” Zazai said.

On the day of his citizenship ceremony, he welcomed us into his Fargo apartment with a platter of food and traditional green tea.

“And now it has been like a seven years that I am in Fargo. And I like it. It is very good for the education. It’s very good for the growing up the kids,” he told me.

His children did their best to stay still during the interview, but kids will be kids. Zazai had a rough childhood, and he says he’s grateful to see his 3 children— and one on the way— grow up differently than he did. Still, he wants his kids to know where he came from.

“The love that we had over there is still I live, I miss my family, my homeland, my country,” he said.

He’s teaching them his language, culture, and religion, and he’s happy to do it in a place that allows him those freedoms.

“I can proudly say that I’m Afghan American.”

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