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‘Life was very dangerous’ | Refugee now in Bowling Green recalls leaving Afghanistan

Hanzala Nooristani, refugee from Afghanistan with translator, Hamayoou Noori.
Hanzala Nooristani, refugee from Afghanistan with translator, Hamayoou Noori.(WBKO)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:26 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Two hundred refugees are expected to arrive in Bowling Green between now and March, following the Taliban takeover.

RELATED: Afghan refugees arrive in Bowling Green Thursday

“Life was very dangerous for him,” said Hamayoou Noori, translator for refugee Hanzala Nooristani of Afghanistan.

Life for Hanzala Nooristani and his wife is now much safer in the United States.

“I’m super happy I made it made it to this point, to live in a safe community,” said Nooristani.

Hanzala said he worked for the Afghanistan National Army. When the Taliban began taking over in August, he received a call.

“I received a phone call from a United States Army. They told me you have to figure out a way to bring yourself and your family to the Kabul airport,” he explained.

Rushing to the airport, he and his wife got on about the 10th flight out of Afghanistan, leaving much of his family behind.

“His mom, dad and brother and sisters is still there in Afghanistan.”

For over a month, Hanzala and his wife were at a U.S. Army Base in New Jersey.

“Everything was provided for about 13,000 refugees on New Jersey camp--- food, clothes, nice room, everything was good,” he said.

Hanzala and his wife have been in the United States now for a total of 48 days but today is day one of making Bowling Green their new home.

“Hopefully, I will stand up on my own feet and start doing something for myself to build a future,” said Nooristani. “I am happy to see good people around me and it makes me feel safer in this city.”

The International Center in Bowling Green will work with the refugees for the next ninety days to help get them acclimated.

“The first three months is kind of intensive case management for them. But the International Center is helping them up to five years,” said Bernardine Nang, Refugee Resettlement Case Manager with the International Center in Bowling Green.

A family of ten will fly into the Nashville airport late tonight and arrive in Bowling Green this weekend.

The Internation Center is still accepting donations for these refugees. Furniture, toiletries and kitchen supplies are all needed.

You can drop off donated items at the center on Kenton Street. Please make sure items are new or very gently used. Individuals can also donate money at ICofKentucky.com and those finances will help the refugees with rent and utilities.

RELATED: International Center seeks donations for Afghan refugees, all 12+ will have one dose of vaccine

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