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Suozzi Welcomes Afghan Family he Helped Evacuate from Kabul

September 8, 2021
Press Release
Father, who has been living on Long Island, owns restaurant in Manhattan; Suozzi and staff worked with team on the ground in Kabul and father to help carry out dramatic evacuation

Today, for the first time, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York), met with the Wali family, who were recently reunited on American soil. Mr. Wali, who lived in Suozzi’s district, had sought Suozzi’s assistance to help evacuate his wife and 3 children from Kabul, Afghanistan. The evacuation was dramatic, involving hundreds of calls, texts, WhatsApp messages, and emails at all hours of the day and night, over the course of 12 days. The evacuation of the family also involved the help and expertise of former US soldiers on the ground in Kabul, who worked on logistics, including meetup times, pick-up points, and an essential red bandanna.


Today’s meeting took place at Ariana, an Afghan restaurant in Manhattan that is owned by Mohammad Wali – whose wife and three young children were, after some harrowing days and nights, safely evacuated from Afghanistan with the help of Congressman Suozzi, his staff, and the outside group Allied Airlift.


Photos from the meeting are found here.


“As soon as I heard from the Wali family, and learned that their 8 and 6-year-old children were American citizens, I knew we had to do all we could to get them out of Kabul. For 12 days straight and at all hours of the day and night, we were in constant contact with them. We found the amazing Adam Demarco, who had a team on the ground in Kabul and, working together, we did not give up until we got them safely home,” said Suozzi. “Without the work of my wonderful staff, the State Department, US military, and Allied Airlift, the safe evacuation of the Wali family would have not been possible.”


“Thank you to Congressman Tom Suozzi and his staff for the way they helped me. I will never forget this,” said Mr. Wali.


“It’s through the combined efforts of Representative Tom Suozzi, his staff, and the dedicated volunteers of Allied Airlift that we were able to safely secure and then evacuate the Wali family from what was a chaotic, volatile, and harrowing situation. While there’s still work to do, and the mission is not over, we can all take solace in knowing that the Wali family is reunited and safe in the United States because of the work of Congressman Suozzi and a team of selfless patriots,” said Adam DeMarco, Allied Airlift.


Background on the family and evacuation efforts:

Mohammad Wali, an American citizen who lived in Plainview, has been working to secure US citizenship for his wife, Aishah Wali, and his youngest child, 1-year-old Yasir (8-year-old Omar and 6-year-old Zahra are already American citizens). When the Taliban took over Kabul, he immediately reached out to Suozzi’s office for emergency help in evacuating his family. After repeated attempts to get into the airport, Suozzi found Adam Demarco and Allied Airlift on the ground in Afghanistan. The team arranged a specific meetup spot outside the airport in Kabul and the family was instructed to place a red bandanna on the youngest child and hold him up high so they would be recognized. The family, after several dramatic and harrowing twists and turns, were escorted safely within the gate at the airport. After flying to Qatar and then Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the Wali family was reunited in the United States late last week, two weeks after first reaching out to Suozzi’s office.


Throughout the family’s harrowing two-week ordeal, Congressman Suozzi and his staff remained in constant touch with Demarco, and the family, both here in NY and Afghanistan, via text, email and WhatsApp.