BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Ahmad Siddiqi and his finally are home.
"Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night , got some water, and I said, 'Man, you are in the U.S. and you were able to bring your family,'" Siddiqi told Denver7.
Getting from Kabul to Colorado wasn’t easy. Siddiqi, affectionately known as Kevin to military members with whom he served, admits he lost hope many times.
Siddiqi spent almost two decades as an interpreter for the U.S. He began fearing for his life and that of his family’s when the country was taken over by the Taliban in mid-August.
"The last day of the collapse when the government fell down in Kabul, I started feeling they were coming around the house and asking people, 'Who is living in this house? Whose car is that? Whose kid is that?'" Siddiqi remembers.
So Siddiqi reached out to his former Army Captain, Scott Henkel, asking for help to get him out of the country.
"He’s given so much to us. To me personally, to the United States, as a whole. It’s the least we can do to bring him back," Henkel explained.
Getting to the extraction point was treacherous. Siddiqi remembers walking through knee-deep sewage and seeing thousands of Afghans also wanting to flee.
"My girl was crying. She said that a lot of people are coming. There's a lot of pressure," said Siddiqi.
The difficult trip was worth it when the family of six made it. Siddiqi said his happiest moment was when he looked over to see the kids were in the safe zone. The family took a packed plane out of Kabul the next day.
"We made it to Qatar, stress from Taliban was gone. We were smiling on that plane. Maybe 400 to 450 people on a C-17. Space was tight but the tightness was so sweet," Siddiqi said with a smile on his face.
Getting to the states was the next step. The family stayed on military bases in Qatar and Italy in the meantime. Siddiqi’s children started growing accustomed to their new norm.
"We were on a military base. Ten-thousand people were sleeping in the garage. She thought this was life or maybe this is going to become a life," Siddiqi said about his 3-year-old daughter.
Colorado politicians including Henkel’s wife, Heidi, a Broomfield councilwoman, helped clear their arrival into the state on Tuesday.
"When the plane landed is when I busted in tears because I knew they were on the plane and that they were safe," said Heidi Henkel.
When the family finally got to their new home in Broomfield, Siddiqi immediately thought of his children.
"OK, I got them to a safe place. I want them to remember how they came here," said Siddiqi.
The children begin school on Friday. On Thursday, they got to meet their soon-to-be classmates.
"The teacher told us that one of your classmates already brought a gift for my son," Siddiqi said.
The home they live in, even the car they drive, was donated to the Afghan family, to be used until they can get on their feet as they plan on being long-term members of the community.
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