The Ramazani siblings appear completely at ease living with extended family in Texas, a world away from the pain and trauma they left behind in Afghanistan.
Their mother was killed in the attack at the Kabul airport on August 26 as they tried to flee the country. The children, Hajar, Nastran, Kausar and Ibadullah, managed to make it on a plane to the United States and were reunited with family in Houston in early September.
Speaking in Dari, the oldest sibling, 17-year-old Hajar, told CBS News she tries not to remember the situation.
“The situation was very bad and horrible. I tried not to remember that moment but when I do, I get a headache,” her cousin, Dave Ali, translated.
Ali can relate to their situation. In 2001, he arrived in Texas as a 13-year-old refugee with his mother and siblings after his father was killed in Afghanistan. During the war in Afghanistan, Ali served as a linguist for U.S. forces, working as a contractor for the military.
When the Taliban took over the country in August, Ali says he didn’t know he had extended family trying to leave Afghanistan until a caseworker in the U.S. contacted his family and asked if they would adopt the children. He says he worried the children might be split up if they were put in foster care, so his family in Houston took them in as their own, providing a new home and new experiences.
Hajar is going to school regularly for the first time, learning new subjects in a brand new language.
“She’s happy now that she has the opportunity to go to school and study because her mother sacrificed her life for them … now she has to do something great here,” said Ali, translating for Hajar.
Ali recalls the challenges of learning English and a new culture following his arrival as a teenager. He and his siblings are now trying to pay it forward to the next generation.
“Now I have a brother that’s a doctor, my sister, a psychiatrist. And I’m going back to school to finish my accounting degree and my brother, he also finished business school, so we are doing our best,” Ali said. “I hope that the kids will do better than us.”