WASHINGTON — A local Afghan American businessman says he's not surprised by the Taliban's sweep through the country. Amin Atta says crime was rampant throughout the country and corruption was endemic in the Afghan leadership. Ever an optimist, he's hopeful the country can find a better future after the chaos.
Inspired after the American invasion, Atta said he returned to his homeland from Northern Virginia in 2002, hoping to build a food-packaging company.
It didn't last long.
"I lost my money and I saw with my own eye the corruption that was there," Atta said.
The Afghan government held up for 20 years with American military might has now collapsed. U.S military transports are crammed with Afghans desperate to get out. The Pentagon is preparing to bring 22,000 or more refugees to resettlement camps, including Fort Lee just south of Richmond.
"The Afghan government failed us," Sabour Aram said while protesting outside the White House. "I'm more disappointed with my government than the American government."
Atta has spent the last decade raising money to build a sports stadium in Kabul. And he hopes to continue the project -- even under the Taliban. He said he hopes they're no longer the zealots who banned music, kept women from going to school and stoned people to death in the sports arena.
"They let people interview them, take pictures with them, they say we don't bother anybody," he said. "We have so many resources, we have good people, they can work hard to rebuild their country, and they can work peacefully with the rest of the world."
After so much war, he holds onto hope.
Where to donate for Afghanistan refugees
The following nonprofits are raising money to help support Afghan refugees:
How to help Afghan refugees through local US charities
Get involved with an organization in your community. These groups may be looking for donations of essential items, hosts for refugees, or in-kind donations.
The following databases can help you find an organization in your area.
Share legal resources for anyone seeking refugee status
The International Refugee Assistance Project is a legal aid group that assists refugees and migrants resettling in the U.S. The group has an online tool available in five different languages that gives guidance on commonly asked questions about family reunification, visas and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.