Two years after an American exit and Taliban takeover, Afghans are making the arduous journey across central and south America to reach the U.S. — only to find uncertainty in the immigration system.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Nearly two years after the fall of the government in Afghanistan, people are still fleeing the Taliban to the U.S. Increasingly, Afghans are making the arduous journey across Central and South America, walking through jungles to reach the southern border only to find uncertainty in the country’s immigration system. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive has the story.

PAUL FLAHIVE, BYLINE: For Safi, the worst part of the near two-month journey from Brazil to the U.S. southern border was the four-day trek through the Panamanian jungle. He says they just couldn’t stay dry.

SAFI: No dry here.

FLAHIVE: Everything was too wet.

SAFI: We need for fire. We found some woods from the trees, and we were cold, so we did not able to make a fire.

FLAHIVE: Not able to make a fire. He says the walk through the dangerous Darien Gap was worse for others, though. He saw many who desperately needed food, even children. Each month this year, official data says around 300 Afghans made the same journey. Last January, it was just one. But Safi says it was worth the risk to get to the U.S. The threat from the Taliban is real. His uncle was murdered in his village while he made the trip.

SAFI: Some people called to our family members. We found his body at the side of the road.

 

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