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New challenges face Human First Coalition

Omaha’s Safi Rauf and brothers help Afghan refugees
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Thousands of Americans, Afghans, and allies are still seeking refuge, two months after the Taliban took control. Omaha’s Safi Rauf is not changing his focus at the helm of the Human First Coalition.

Rauf and his two brothers, all Nebraskans, and Afghan-Americans, are helping coordinate a coalition of individuals, non-profits, organizations, and governments, to continue the efforts to help thousands of at-risk people looking to get out of Afghanistan.

“Everybody that’s left behind is still at risk,” Rauf said. “There are a lot of vulnerable populations, there are populations that are persecuted, religious minorities, social minorities, people who worked with the US government, American citizens, green cardholders. They all still remain in country.”

We introduced you to the three brothers last month, and they haven’t slowed since that time. The challenges remain great, particularly in securing safe passage by plane.

Speaking with WOWT’s Brent Weber by Zoom from London, Rauf said there is a growing element of concern that many in the veteran population in the U.S. are now experiencing anguish over not being able to help Afghan colleagues who often kept them safe and alive.

”A lot of them feel at a loss, some of them worked directly with all those people left behind,” Rauf said. “We heard a while ago a Marine committed suicide because he couldn’t evacuate his interpreter he had worked with in Afghanistan.”

That concern led to a recent success story about the rescue of an Afghan interpreter and his family, on the move for weeks, in fear for their lives. Back in 2008. that interpreter helped save three U.S. senators when their helicopter made an emergency landing in a remote Afghan valley.

Those senators were Nebraska’s Chuck Heigel, now-President Joe Biden, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

”One of the reasons I helped Biden’s interpreter was because the person who had worked with him in Afghanistan was in distress, he was in a very bad place,” Rauf said. “We decided to help him get him out so the veteran could be in a better place again.”

Human First Coalition is a volunteer, non-profit organization. To learn more, you can visit their website www.humanfirstcoalition.org.

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