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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

Fremont's Afghan Community Reacts To America's Withdrawal

Afghan Flag.jpg
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

There’s a water buffalo head mounted on the wall of the Maiwand Market in Fremont’s Little Kabul neighborhood. Bakers carry stacks of fresh flatbreads almost the size of bathmats. Butchers run two gleaming meat saws, tossing slices of halal goat onto a growing pile.

Kais is working the register. Asked about the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he says, "They're just leaving people for the wolves. All the sheeps are open for the wolves without any type of protection."

Fremont is home to some 25,000 Afghan Americans, many of whom came as refugees during the Soviet-Afghan war. It was following that war that the Taliban emerged as part of the local resistance that the U.S. and Pakistan backed against the Soviet Union.

Abdul Yasini, President of the Afghan Culture Association, remembers when the US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, and removed the Taliban from power. "The US brought a lot of hope to Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan," he says.

President Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal in April, after almost 20 years of military presence. The Taliban advanced quickly against the Afghan army, taking over key cities in a matter of weeks. On Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered Kabul. They assumed control of government buildings, and proclaimed an “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

Yasini's whole family is there. "They were crying last night," he says.

His sisters are very worried because the Taliban are forcing women to wear burqas again.

Balkis Mujadidi is shopping at the Maiwand Market. She says that without the US Army's protection, women who attempt to go to school will be beaten and killed.

Mujadidi is saddened by the media's relentless focus on conflict. "We have a beautiful country," she says.

Afghan Americans are planning a protest for Afghan lives in Fremont on Sunday, August 8.

KALW News Crosscurrents