‘They’re scared for their lives’: Local Afghan community, nonprofits prepare to help refugees in Nevada

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Thousands are still trying to flee Afghanistan, days after the Taliban takeover, and many people are trying to come to the U.S.

The Afghan community in Las Vegas and local nonprofits are getting ready to help.

Most people in Las Vegas’ Afghan community still have family in Afghanistan right now, and they just want their loved ones to be safe.

They, along with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, are getting ready to welcome them to the Silver State.

Surrounded by the colorful clothing at Taj Boutique in Las Vegas, owner Malalay Kohistani is trying to focus on work.

Taj Boutique in Las Vegas

But she cannot stop thinking about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, her home country.

“Every second, we are worried about what will happen,” Kohistani said. “All of them, they’re scared for their lives.

They don’t know what’s going to bring tomorrow.”

Kohistani is an Afghan refugee, who came to Las Vegas when she was around 14 years old.

Her brother and his family are still in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, now, caught in the chaos.

Kohistani in Afghanistan

“Now is the time that we want him to come. At least they will be safe,” Kohistani said.

Crowds continue to fill the airport in Kabul, as thousands attempt to flee the country.

Kohistani wants Nevada to open its arms to those wanting to come to the United States.

“We can help everyone, so everyone has the right to a life of freedom,” Kohistani said.

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada is getting ready to welcome any Afghan refugees that could come to the Silver State.

They say they have been preparing for what the Biden administration projects to be about 120,000 refugees across the country.

It is unclear how many will call Nevada home, but Carisa Lopez-Ramirez, Vice President of Immigration and Migration Services at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, says they estimate about 500 refugees will arrive within the next year.

“We do receive federal funding to provide resettlement services for refugees, as well as the special immigrant VISA holders,” Lopez-Ramierz said.

“Part of the services that we provide to them upon arrival is food, clothing, and shelter, originally, covering those necessities.

Carisa Lopez-Ramirez, VP of Immigration and Migration services at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada

And then after that, they are eligible for resettlement services for up to five years from their date of arrival here, which include case management, employment services, ESL classes.

Kohistani says the whole Afghan community in Las Vegas is also ready to step up and take care of their own.

“We can all get together and help them,” Kohistani said. “We all are willing to do that for them.”

Governors of several states across the U.S. have publicly offered to take in Afghan refugees.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has not made any remarks yet in response to the current situation in Afghanistan, but he has been an outspoken advocate for refugees from around the world.

8 News Now has reached out to the Governor’s Office for New Americans for a statement but did not receive a response by Wednesday night.

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