ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An Afghan family torn apart by regime change and conflict, is now whole again after being reunited Wednesday at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.
The Habibi family helped support U.S. forces during the War in Afghanistan. Part of the family, including Walid Habibi, have been in the U.S. for about a year, the other part, including Walid’s wife, Frohar, were held up half a world away.
Ellen Smith is the Executive Director of the organization ‘Keeping Our Promise’. They helped to facilitate the emotional reunion. “It’s been an incredibly heartbreaking and long journey for them. (In) Afghanistan, they were at the airport when the suicide bombing hit,” she says.
That was back in August. 13 US service members and 170 Afghans were killed when an ISIS-K member detonated a bomb. Walid had to watch on TV stateside and wonder about the safety of his wife and family. He said Wednesday words can’t describe his joy, his wife now in his arms.
“Because part of my family was not even here, so I feel complete, very happy. I cannot express my real feeling,” says Walid. Frohar telling News 8 she now “feels complete”.
After the suicide bombing, Frohar and family were placed in a safe house, then taken away to Pakistan, and then to Albania, eventually touching down in Rochester.
Their story is one of many more. Deborah Abell volunteers with ‘Keeping Our Promise’. She says the mission continues. 18,000 people in Afghanistan are still waiting for visas… they and their family members. “So many people. Tomorrow’s a new day,” says Abell.
Smith says what the Habibi’s will be building here, isn’t possible back home any longer. The country now under the rule of the Taliban. “This is the dream they wanted for Afghanistan, I think that’s so important for people to remember,” she says.
Smith says the family is likely to settle in Pittsford. If you’re interested in donating to ‘Keeping Our Promise’, click here.