Head of Afghanistan Studies at UNO Working to Get Kabul Employees Out of Country

Aug. 20, 2021, 2:30 p.m. ·

Sher Jan Ahmadzai
Sher Jan Ahmadzai, Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. (Photo courtesty of UNO)

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Staff members at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Afghanistan Studies are working with the U.S. State Department to facilitate the evacuation of center employees based in Kabul as the situation there continues to be concerning for citizens with American ties.

Sher Jan Ahmadzai is the head of program at UNO and says there are nine Center employees in Kabul and others who have worked for the center in the past. He’s working with U.S. officials on securing visas that could allow those workers to come to Nebraska.

“They share the same values and aspirations as we do here and they love America as we do here,” Ahmadzai said. “I think it’s our moral responsibility to assist our colleagues who are stuck in Kabul, Afghanistan.”

A building that houses the employees in Kabul was damaged by a car bomb recently and there are concerns about the security of people who have worked with Americans. Ahmadzai said the country is a dangerous place to be right now.

“Anything can happen right in Kabul and we are worried about them,” he said. “Although some of them might be facing immediate threats or not, but that’s not the question right now, but the environment, the insecurity is so high that we cannot risk not paying attention to their current situation.”

He said a few of the employees in Kabul have been to Nebraska, but all are citizens of Afghanistan. There is no timetable for word on whether they’ll be able to leave because of the thousands of visa applications that have to be processed by the State Department.