KABUL, Afghanistan — Haroon Zarify knew leaving his home in Englewood, Colorado for Kabul, Afghanistan was a risk, but not going wasn’t an option for him.
“Some people think we went for vacation — that we deserve this. I’ve heard that,” said Zarify. “The reason I came here was to take my dad to India because he was sick.”
Zarify spoke with Denver7 via FaceTime from Kabul where he’s been with his family since June.
“I was planning to get out of here with my wife and kids on the 28th,” Zarify said.
As the world saw Afghan security forces fall within hours of American soldiers leaving the country, Zarify watched everything unfold outside of his father’s home in Kabul.
“Everyone knows when Americans leave Afghanistan what’s going to happen, and they’re scared,” Zarify said. “People died from rushing to leave… but unfortunately this is what’s happening now.”
Zarify described being in a frantic crowd at the airport in Kabul while trying to get his family out of the city. He said as he tried to get help, a soldier attacked him.
“He broke my phone because I was checking a video, he just crushed and hit it on the ground,” Zarify said. “Then he kicked me and I was like ‘OK, I can’t do anything.' I cannot tell them I am an American and I’m a permanent resident of America. I cannot say that because there’s a lot of people around me, how do I know who they are? So, it’s about the trust. I cannot trust anyone.”
Zarify said while he prays for help, he has a message for President Joe Biden.
“If Joe Biden can see my video, I’m telling him please help these people… give us an address where we can go,” Zarify said. “They have to make a new decision to evacuate all these people. It’s been two days. I’ve been trying to go and talk to someone. It was impossible, it’s impossible. The embassy doesn’t exist anymore so who’s going to respond?”
Zarify said he understands the risk he is taking by speaking to the media.
“The reason I came to speak to you guys, putting my life at risk, endangering my families lives more than they were — I want everyone to hear our voices,” Zarify said.
Zarify said he doesn’t know if he’ll ever make it back to Englewood, but he will never stop trying.
“I’m waiting to see if the crowd gets a little bit smaller, to see if I can talk with someone to get my family out. When I say family, I’m trying to get all my family out, parents as well. Hopefully it happens,” Zarify said.
For a list of ways to help people in Afghanistan, click here.