Posted by Steve Lettau on Jan 10, 2023

By Frank Bures

In 2015, Shah knew he had to get out of Afghanistan. His family had lived in a village near the city of Jalalabad for generations. But his work for the U.S. government as a translator and guide during the war that began in 2001 made him and his family targets for the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate that was growing in parts of the country at the time.

Securing expedited American visas, he fled with his wife, six sons, and a daughter. Years later, thousands of interpreters and others who aided the U.S. in the war would do the same during a frantic evacuation set off by the Afghan government's fall.

The family settled in Minnesota, where Shah (we're not using his full name out of concern for the safety of relatives in Afghanistan) found work as a security guard. They were safe, but did not have an easy landing.

"We had a lot of difficult times," Shah recalls. "The government resettlement agency found us a three-bedroom apartment for nine people, with one bathroom and no laundry. There was a broken window, and every night the house was full of mosquitoes. It was also very old, and my wife and children got lead in their blood. Life was very tough in that time."