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Afghans In Maine Share Frustrations At Portland Rally

The pain and sadness of the Afghan community here in Maine was evident at a rally in Monument Square in Portland on Friday.

Those speaking say it's terrifying to hear stories from family hiding in their homes in Afghanistan, desperate to get out of the country, and holding out hope the U.S. will not abandon them after the collapse of their government and the Taliban's takeover.

"I have a cousin, my sister's fiance. They are crying. How can I escape? They're waiting for us to come out so they can take us. Hiding with our paperwork. They tell us to go to the airport. How? How?" says Jameel Shah, a native of Afghanistan who lives in Portland.

Farkhunda Jamal is a resident of Portland who wants the U.S. to provide humanitarian assistance to those still there and to expedite visa applications.

"I feel numb because everything is closed out on them. The airport, banks. Everything is shut down on them," she says.

Jamal says she is not angry at the U.S. but is especially worried about the plight of women and children in Afghanistan.

Military efforts are underway to evacuate Americans and Afghans who are having trouble reaching the Kabul airport. U.S. helicopters have been picking them up from secret sites beyond the airport to protect their safety.