A teenager who said Afghanistan is the "darkest" place in the world for women and girls is desperately trying to flee the country with the assistance of Chicago-area residents and a non-profit organization.
The girl is one of a number of teens who receive mountain climbing training from U.S.-based Ascend Athletics and are asking for help to exit the country following the Taliban takeover.
"I had many dreams and goals for success," the teenager, who the organization referred to as "one brave girl," said in a recorded audio message. "But with the advent of the Taliban and their rules, I and thousands of female athletes will not be able to continue your activities in the country, because the Taliban will never allow a woman to exercise."
She goes on to say the sufferings in Afghanistan are so great, many can't be expressed in words.
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"We do not want our living to go down, and I call on the world, international and humanitarian community to help us and not to forget the people of Afghanistan and the brave girls climbing mountains," the girl continued.
The teen and her fellow athletes need safe passage to the airport in Kabul, according to a Chicago resident who is pleading for the U.S. government to help.
“These girls are already known leaders in their neighborhood. Their names are known. Their families are in danger,” said Sara Lavery, a volunteer for Ascend Athletics.
Lavery said some of the girls have submitted visa applications that have yet to be approved and others do not have visas.
“They would love to come to the United States, but they would love to be free,” Lavery said. “They would love to be liberated.”
Meanwhile, immigration attorneys in the US are working non-stop trying to help people in Afghanistan clear bureaucratic hurdles to board planes departing from Kabul.
“These are people who have pending applications or approved applications that by any stretch of the imagination or any other circumstance would be allowed to board a plane and come to the United States without any issue,” said attorney Farrah Qazi.
Qazi is a lawyer based in west suburban Warrenville. As of Friday, she said she has helped about 35 people exit Afghanistan.
“I have right now at last count about 250 open cases as well as 5,000 people on a list waiting for me to help them,” Qazi said.