ONCE THE TALIBAN arrived in Kabul in August 2021, Ahmad started hiding work documents under dishes in his family’s kitchen, stashing papers that linked him to the U.S. Embassy.
Ahmad, like many Afghan civilians, had been recruited by the American government following the invasion of Afghanistan; his job helped buy this four-level house, and support the family that lived there with him: his mother, his siblings, his wife and his newborn child.
America’s swift withdrawal from Afghanistan didn’t give him much time to leave it.
Ahmad, with his wife and 2-month-old son, crammed onto a U.S. military plane that Aug. 27 to fly out of Kabul. He clutched a thermos of hot water to turn baby formula into food as they headed west with hundreds of other refugees.
The thermos grew lighter as time passed. Even after they landed at a military base in Germany, it was nearly impossible to get hot water.