Warm welcome for Afghan family newly settled in Jacksonville Beach

Afghan combat interpreter’s baby was born on U.S. military aircraft during evacuation of Kabul

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A former Afghan combat interpreter who fought alongside American troops in his native Afghanistan has found a new home in Jacksonville Beach, along with his wife and new baby.

There was a warm welcome for Kaihan and his family Friday night at the Greater Beaches VFW Post 3270.

The family was rescued from Afghanistan three months ago with help from the newly formed organization Save Our Allies, which moved out more than 12,000 Afghan allies before the Taliban takeover of the international airport in Kabul.

“And after Kabul fell, we’ve still moved another 3,000 plus out of Afghanistan and into various countries,” said Matt Nelson, with Save Our Allies.

Kaihan served as a translator, and military pilot for the U.S. government, after graduating from the National Military Academy of Afghanistan.

He and his wife, Shamila, were evacuated from the troubled nation as the Taliban took over.

“I am lucky,” Kaihan said. “I am very, very lucky I made it to America.”

Their baby daughter. Dunya, was born on their rescue flight, aboard a U.S. military aircraft.

Shamila and 3-month-old Dunya are starting a new life in Jacksonville Beach with Shamila's husband Kaihan, a former Afghan combat interpreter. (Save Our Allies)

A local sponsor spearheaded the family’s acclimation to life in Jacksonville after watching the dramatic withdrawal from Afghanistan’s airport.

“I wanted us to stand together as Americans and show what America really stands for,” said Carol Williams, the family’s sponsor.

This welcoming group has already helped the family with a place to live, clothes and items for Dunya.

“The sacrifice that we have done for America, and now I see it was, like, not for nothing,” Kaihan said. “It was for something.”

Kaihan said America means so much to him. He is excited to soon wear a uniform again and jump back in the field to fight for the freedom we all enjoy.


About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.