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Family of IU professor stuck in Afghanistan

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Among the Americans and allies left behind in Afghanistan after all US troops were withdrawn from the country, the family of an Indiana University professor, who once called Afghanistan home, is now desperately trying to get out of the country taken over by the Taliban.

Nazif Shahrani’s family is like many others stuck in Afghanistan as the conditions there continue to worsen and become direr by the day. He says he is desperately trying to do all he can to bring them to safety.

Shahrani came to the United States to complete his education in 1967. Since then he has taught at prestigious universities across the country and for the last 31 years has been a professor at Indiana University. Many of his family members, though, are stuck in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

“[The Taliban] have done nothing but harm the people in the country. It is such that people are afraid of them. They are scared,” said Shahrani, who is a professor in the department of Central Eurasian Studies.

Shahrani says that because of his efforts in educating and spreading the truth about the Taliban as well as his family members’ jobs connected to the national government in Afghanistan they are worried that they will soon become targets of terrorists.

“It is important that Taliban do not need reason to harm people. They can do it and they have done it,” said Shahrani.

In the two weeks since the Taliban took over Kabul, there have already been civil rights setbacks with women’s rights becoming more and more limited.

“They are now saying that the university students have to segregate and they should have separate classes, separate teachers and so forth. For a poor country like Afghanistan that is an impossibility,” said Shahrani.

Shahrani says that despite promises made by the Taliban, people living in Afghanistan are on edge.

“They have already imposed, despite what they are saying that they are going to call amnesty and not take revenge and not bother people, the truth is what they have been doing is the opposite of that. People have been shot. People have been hanged. People have been searched and their properties confiscated,” said Shahrani.

As for those who are awaiting escape from Afghanistan, without an official American presence in the country, Shahrani says the situation isn’t favorable, especially for Afghan citizens who have no paperwork connecting them to another country.

“To describe it as anything other than grim is probably not correct. The situation is really scary for those who are there. If they are American citizens or green card holders, permanent residents who have been left behind, it is very serious,” said Shahrani.

Shirhani says he has spent the recent days working on paperwork and going through the proper channels in the United States in efforts to get his family out of Afghanistan. He says if this doesn’t work he isn’t sure what more they will be able to do

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