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Family shares their story about escaping Afghanistan and finding hope in Indiana

The Cost of War: Afghan refugees paid the price during the Taliban takeover
Afghan Refugee
Posted at 5:30 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 11:34:10-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Inside the Hoshmand family apartment, you’ll meet father, Aiman Hoshmand, mother, Najia Sherzad Hoshmand, and their three kids who are nine, eight, and a year and two years old.

“It’s more hard with the kids and working, oh very busy life,” Najia said.

Like any family, the kids play, the parents work, and they all eat together. Now their home-cooked meals represent the closest they get to their home they left, in Afghanistan.

Najia said they left with only a five minute warning to get to the airport.

“It’s really hard to leave everything behind, and you have no chance even to look back on what you have left behind,” she said.

With only $300 in their pocket, the clothes on their backs, and their kids by their side, Najia’s brother got 19 of her family members on the list of Afghan Refugees to fly to America.

He worked for the U.S. Embassy. Najia, worked for U.S. and other European allies, mainly in banking. She describes the exit, as chaos.

"Very huge crowd, no one was letting anyone to pass them.” Najia said, “We were sitting on the ground, on the rocks, on the sand with kids. No food, no water.”

Thousands of people pushed through the airport, and they shoved Najia to the ground, breaking her ribs.

"I felt the pain, but I didn't notice the pain because I was still so busy at the airport," she said.

The Taliban takeover forever changed the country Najia loved.

“It wasn’t home. It wasn’t home anymore,” Najia said through tears.

It became a place of suicide bombings, death threats and funerals for her husband’s TV station friends.

Heavy-hearted, the Hoshmand family took five flights, finally landing in Indiana.

“We were very happy, finally relieved,” Najia said.

7,201 Afghan refugees found protection at Camp Atterbury, under ‘Operation Allies Welcome’. Along the way, Najia used her 19 years of work experience and English skills to translate between the military and Afghan refugees.

While at Camp Atterbury, she represented a building of more than 128 refugees.

With her family resettled in Indy, Najia’s master’s degree and experience with banks earned her a spot in the mayor’s office, in the treasury department.

Marion County Treasury Office on Najia

While off the clock, she tirelessly rebuilds her family’s life from scratch.

Najia said she feels lucky to have survived and grateful for what they have now as Hoosier’s who paid the immense cost of war.

“We have a lot of dreams, we have a lot of hope in this country, we want to be a good citizen here, we want to have a good life here and we would love to be Afghan Americans one day," she said. "We are looking forward to that.”

Najia said she feels grateful for the support of resettlement organizations for all refugees, for about 90 days.

She also said that all Afghan refugees are in America under humanitarian parole. So, she hopes the ‘Afghan Adjustment Act’ moves forward to provide a pathway to a legal permanent U.S. Citizenship status.