Holland author continues work for Afghan evacuations despite challenges

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A best-selling author from Holland has been trying to help evacuate more than 150 people out of Afghanistan. 

The families who worked for her non-profit in Kabul qualify to apply for special visas but nearly all remain in the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

News 8 first spoke with author Deborah Rodriguez about her efforts to help connect the families with evacuation resources before the military left the country. A few people with her organization have been able to get out despite the difficulties on the ground.

“The women aren’t leaving the houses because they are just in fear, a lot of people aren’t able to work,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez moved to Afghanistan and started a beauty school, something that was considered taboo by the Taliban. She later opened a coffee shop and wrote books about the country.

“Afghans are the most resistant and resilient and courageous people literally on the face of the earth and they will figure this out,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is hopeful charter flights and private military contractors will be able to assist in the process. 

“We’re literally just waiting to hear what the Taliban government is going to allow to happen,” Rodriguez said. 

She says the people are resourceful, especially older generations who remember when the Taliban was in control and know how to navigate difficult situations.

“I need to believe that the families that need to get out will get out and there’s many people advocating for them,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to the struggle to leave the country, many Afghans do not have passports or other documentation needed to apply for visas.

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