Afghan refugees adjusting to new life in Alaska

Afghan refugees arrive in Anchorage
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 2:49 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - News of the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan was gut-wrenching to hear for many, including Anchorage resident Joe Brady. His siblings and his father, along with his father’s wife, were living in Afghanistan at the time.

With the help of several people, the family was able to take a flight from the Kabul airport and flee the country back in August — just hours before chaos erupted in that same location.

“I don’t use the world miracle often, but this whole story — it is,” Brady said.

It was a long and difficult journey for his family members who escaped. They left life as they knew it behind and made numerous stops along their way to the U.S. before eventually ending up at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin where more than 12,000 Afghan refugees had been staying.

Brady’s family stayed there for nearly a month before arriving at their new home in Anchorage last week. Alaska’s News Source captured the moment Brady was reunited with his father Karim Bostani and met his siblings for the first time.

“I know I’m tired. It’s a long journey, but I thank everybody for helping and contributing to this,” Bostani said after arriving. “May God bless us all.”

“It’s been months. We’ve been waiting for this moment,” Brady said. “When I got the word that he made it across the border, I was relieved. I’m glad to finally be with my family and meet my siblings for the first time, and, you know, my dad’s back home.”

On Monday, Alaska’s News Source visited the home where Bostani and his wife and kids are currently staying. Bostani, who used to live in Anchorage for many years before moving back to Afghanistan, said life was far from easy there even before the Taliban’s resurgence.

“For 43 years, it’s been war after war and I haven’t seen Afghanistan stable, and they’re talking about the re-infrastructure of Afghanistan,” he said. “I haven’t seen nothing — all electricity is even gone, people (are living in) poverty, despair, no water, (and) it’s totally wrong, I’m gonna say that.”

Bostani said he’s thankful to be back in Anchorage along with his wife and kids who are experiencing the Last Frontier for the first time.

“It’s been a good last couple of days,” Brady said. “They’re just getting situated (and) very thankful to be able to come to Alaska and have Alaskans back them and create a support system ... where refugees can find a way to make their way in a new place.”

Brady said the past few days with his family have been busy with attending appointments and getting paperwork situated, but he said he’s also had the chance to spend plenty of quality time with his siblings.

“They’re out here riding bikes and playing with the neighborhood kids,” he said. “... It’s just fun to see the smile on their faces.”

Brady said he’s grateful for his friends and the community that has stepped in to help his family during their time of transition.

“Big thank you to all the communities that came together, the people who donated money to the family and a lot of friends that gave me donations,” he said.

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