Man who traveled from Colorado to Kabul to help his sick father described getting attacked by a soldier as he tried to flee the Taliban

A dozen Afghan people are running, one woman is holding the hand of a child.
People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16, 2021. Stringer/REUTERS
  • Haroon Zarify told Denver7 that he traveled to Kabul from Colorado in order to take his sick father to India.
  • He said he was attacked by a soldier at the Kabul airport while trying to flee Afghanistan with family.
  • Surrounded by crowds, Zarify said he didn’t feel safe enough to tell the soldier he was from America.
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A Colorado man who said he traveled to Afghanistan to help his sick father described in an interview with a local news station how a soldier attacked him amid this week’s chaos at the airport in Kabul.

Haroon Zarify told Denver7 that he went to Kabul with his family so that he could take his father, who is sick, to India.

“Some people think we went for vacation, that we deserve this,” Zarify said.

Zarify said he and his family made their way to the airport after Taliban forces began entering the city. Videos have shown people storming the tarmac at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in recent days to try and board planes as they leave the country.

Amid that chaos, Zarify was attacked by a soldier, he told Denver7. It’s unclear which forces the soldier was with.

“He broke my phone because I was checking a video, he just crushed and hit it on the ground,” Zarify told the news station. “Then he kicked me and I was like ‘OK, I can’t do anything.'”

He added that he didn’t feel safe enough to tell the soldier he was a permanent American resident because of the crowds around him.

“I cannot tell them I am an American and I’m a permanent resident of America,” Zarify said. “I cannot say that because there’s a lot of people around me, how do I know who they are? So, it’s about the trust. I cannot trust anyone.”

President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos there was no way to pull troops out without “ensuing chaos.” He also said Wednesday that US forces may stay in Afghanistan longer than the August 31 withdrawal deadline to help Americans leave the country.

Zarify begged the Biden administration to help his family flee the country, telling Denver7 that he has been trying to talk to someone about helping his family evacuate, but hasn’t able to reach anyone for two days.