NY college student fights for cousin stuck in Afghanistan as chaos rocks country

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As tensions escalate in Afghanistan, several New Yorkers are banding together to rescue a young Afghan woman whose life is in danger as she tries to escape the turmoil overseas.

Sofia Bator, 38, has been making a desperate attempt at spreading awareness of the escalating problems in her native Afghanistan. She escaped the Taliban occupied country back in 2012.

“All Afghan women [are] trapped, like a prisoner in their own country,” Bator said.

Bator’s studying at Westchester Community college to become a psychologist. But now, instead of focusing on her American Dream, Bator is overwhelmed by the violence in Afghanistan, where her cousin, Freshta Nazari, is trapped.

“It’s a lot of uncertainty for her. I don’t know what will happen, but at this point, I really want Freshta to follow her dream,” Bator said. “She wants to be a women’s activist, she wants to go to school, have education, which her own country took from her.”

Bator wants the world to know what is happening to her loved one, who is partially handicapped as a result of a roadside explosion.

In the past week, Bator said her cousin has been kicked out of her apartment north of Kabul and beaten by the Taliban. She’s urgently seeking refuge at the airport.

“She’s a symbol of all those Afghan women suffering in Afghanistan, and she’s the one I can help,” Bator said.

Bator knows she can’t do it alone, so she’s welcomed help from her community, including her college professor, Sheldon Malev.

Malev compares the current plight to the story of Anne Frank.

To ensure Nazari’s safety, Professor Malev teamed up with legislators and community leaders, including Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. Through their efforts, U.S. soldiers found Nazari, who is now safe at the airport in Kabul. 

Bator is grateful her mission is progressing, as she prays for peace for those unable to escape.

“She is like a young sister for me, oh my gosh, it brings a lot of memory, happiness,” she said. “At the same time, I feel sad for all those people today that lost their lives in the airport attack. It’s just so sad.”

Nazari’s visa has been approved to travel to the U.S. to be with her family here in New York. 
It’s likely her next stop will be Qatar, before she could enter New York and be reunited with Bator.

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