Rahman, 3, has lived half his young life in Los Angeles – without his mother.
They see each other, sometimes, via video chat from Kabul, Afghanistan.
“I see my kids on camera, but I cannot touch them,” his mother said recently from a home she may not leave without a male chaperone in a city where daily electricity use is rationed.
“Sometimes (Rahman) come and he say, ‘Mama,’” she told CNN. “But sometimes he don’t (because) he doesn’t see me” in person.
As his parents fear their squirmy toddler may be forgetting she’s his mom, there’s no telling when he might see her again face to face.
Nearly 18 months after the US military withdrawal, Rahman and his dad, Ahmad Roman, are among perhaps thousands who – after getting out of Afghanistan in the chaotic final days before the Taliban reclaimed control – are still trying to reunite in the United States with loved ones stuck back home.
Beyond the heartache of separation and the fear over human rights crackdowns, they face a dearth of reliable information about the American immigration process as key deadlines for staying here approach, said Afghan families, advocacy groups and attorneys.
Among them are unaccompanied minors whose parents are still in Afghanistan, said an immigration lawyer at Women for Afghan Women whose unit is trying to help 400 families separated from immediate relatives – most at the Kabul airport, the epicenter in those final days of so many desperate and deadly scrambles for freedom.
The US government initially coordinated “evacuation procedures for their parents and add(ed) their name to evacuation flights,” attorney Sanam Ghandehari said. “However, after more than one year, none of my minor clients have been reunited with their parents yet and still no hope for their reunification in