SALT LAKE COUNTY – Siraj Matin has pictures with his older brothers; memories of their life together in Afghanistan before the Taliban killed one of them.
“They executed him,” said Matin. “They drove him from Afghanistan to Pakistan.”
Matin and her eight siblings grew up over 160 kilometers from Kabul, cultivating the land.
In his final year of high school, Matin was captured by the Russians during the Soviet-Afghan War. He spent months in prison before being rescued.
For the next seven years, Matin fought against the Soviet Union until his injuries required serious medical treatment.
“The last injury I had was in a mine explosion where I lost both hands,” he said.
On leaving Afghanistan, Matin met a volunteer Utah doctor at a refugee camp in Pakistan. The doctor invited Matin to return to Beehive State for treatment in 1985.
Matin stayed during his medical treatments, and although he felt drawn to returning to his homeland and family, he ended up staying, meeting his wife and having five children together.
During the many conflicts in Afghanistan, Matin said his family’s farmland had been taken and distributed to other farmers for decades before it was returned to his family.
Matin has lost many friends and relatives since leaving in the 1980s and with the return of the Taliban he says “the nightmare is starting again.
It’s a frustrating reality for Matin, who says she feels powerless when it comes to helping loved ones.
Matin’s nephew worked for the United States and the federal government had promised him that he would get a special immigrant visa, or SIV, for his work with the United States.
READ: Afghan interpreters fear they will be left behind
Matin said if the Taliban found his nephew they would kill him for working for the United States (FOX 13 withholds the nephew’s name to protect his identity).
“He worked for the military for three years in a side-by-side. He was wearing the same uniform, he fought with them, ”said Matin.
Wifi is the only way Matin can connect with his nephew now, so their communication has been spotty.
In a text message, Matin’s nephew said: “When I was in the army, I was a brother. I worked with them. I was not a translator, I was a brother to him and I was trying to build a bridge but now I am just a forgotten case.
Every day Matin’s nephew goes to Kabul airport, trying to get his family out – he was there during the attack.
“The situation in Kabul is getting worse by the day,” Matin’s nephew said. “They search houses, they pursue people. “
Matin’s nephew and his family have no food. Market prices have doubled, causing what originally cost 10 Afghani now costs 20 Afghani.
Matin said he couldn’t send money to his nephew to help him because the Taliban are monitoring who receives bank transfers from the United States
Most frustrating for Matin and his family is that they have been trying to bring in his nephew since 2012, but the United States has not honored their SIV deal.
The nephew’s job in the United States put a huge target on his head, especially because Matin said the Taliban have access to all the records of those who were employed for the United States and that they have l ‘intention to prosecute them.
“I didn’t put my whole life in danger, but I put my whole family, like my brothers, nephews and nieces. Why? Because I work with the US government, ”said Matin’s nephew.
Over the past 15 to 20 years, the United States has provided some stability and security, which Matin said was appreciated, but it’s just a blink of an eye.
“I feel for my family and the Afghans. I feel for the military of this country, ”said Matin. “They give their lives to help the lives of others and that is called courage.”
Matin and her family have been in contact with all of the Utah delegates for further support in their efforts.
If Matin’s nephew does not evacuate Afghanistan by August 31, Matin says he is giving up hope of survival.