Austin woman works to get former student out of Afghanistan as Taliban takes control

U.S. & World

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Patricia Schwindt and her former student Razmi [last name omitted] are like family. The two met back in 2008, when she taught him at the Defense Language Institute at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Now, Schwindt sits by as she fears Razmi could be killed at any moment.

Chaos is escalating in Afghanistan after the country lost control to the Taliban.

People are desperately trying to flee to safety, including Razmi, his wife and five children. On Monday morning, Razmi said he tried to go to the airport to see if he could get he and his family help escaping from the U.S. government, but had no luck.

People are desperately trying to flee to safety, including Razmi, his wife and five children (Courtesy of Patricia Schwindt)

He was working at the military hospital in Kabul, until this past weekend, when the Taliban entered the area.

“What you have seen on social media, on TV… that is real, I saw with my own eyes,” Razmi said. “There are people jumping over the fence, over the concrete walls. Some of them were injured. So many people — like thousands of people — were trying to get into the airport.”

Amid the escalation, Schwindt and Razmi have spoken frequently — and she’s worked to contact the government to get Razmi and his family aid.

“[He’s] worked with our military and saved many American lives,” Schwindt said. “How can our government just leave those men there? …They [the Taliban] will kill every last one of those men AND their families. Our country cannot leave those men there. It’s unconscionable, it’s immoral — it’s unthinkable.”

Texas Senator John Cornyn is critical of the U.S. policies that led to this moment.

“People who worked with us in Afghanistan for the last 20 years have been literally stranded and left to be slaughtered,” Coryn said.

President Biden addressed the nation on Monday afternoon, vowing to get allies out.

“We’ll also continue to support the safe departure of civilian personnel,” he said. “And the civilian personnel of our allies who are still serving in Afghanistan.”

In the meantime, Razmi is in survival mode.

“I have to cover all of my face…to keep myself invisible from the Taliban,” he said.

He waits for a call from the U.S. government with no idea when it might come.

“The U.S. embassy is very slow in accessing our documents,” Razmi said. “Please if you have any possibilities to make them hear our voices, that will be better.”

Razmi has applied for his special immigration visa. The most recent federal data shows more than 2,000 people have already received one from January through March this year.

Nearly 11,000 visas are available for Afghans seeking refuge.

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