Utah welcomes its first Afghan refugee after Kabul airlift

Sep 1, 2021, 2:48 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s first Afghan refugee since the pullout of American forces from Kabul arrived in the state Tuesday night, according to Catholic Community Services of Utah, one of two agencies that work to resettle refugees in Salt Lake City. 

first afghan refugee arrives in utah

Afghan refugee Azim, center, with his case manager, Abakar, left, and Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services of Utah, right. Photo provided by CCS

The first Afghan refugee arrives in Utah

Azim, identified as an air traffic controller at the Kabul airport who worked both with the US military and NATO, will likely be the first of potentially many refugees to seek asylum in Utah.

In an interview with KSL TV, Azim said everyone has been very nice to him since arriving Tuesday night. 

“They are very kind, very cool people. They’re very good people. I really appreciate [them],” he said. 

Leaving Afghanistan was a difficult decision, he said. However, he believes the situation there grew out of control. 

“It’s obvious and clear for everybody that chaos and disaster happened,” said Azim. 

After leaving Kabul, Azim spent a few days in Qatar before coming to the U.S. Most of his family is currently in Germany and he hopes to be reunited with them soon. 

In the meantime, there is a Utah family he hopes to meet. Azim wishes to thank the family of Utah Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover who was killed in Kabul last week. 

“I really need to meet his family members here. That’s one of my hope and dream if I can meet them,” Azim explained. 

More refugees are on the way

In a news release, CCS said it expects a few more approved refugees to arrive in the coming weeks. 

Salt Lake City is among 19 cities designated to receive Afghan refugees, according to CCS. 

Roughly 60,000 refugees call Utah home, from countries including Somalia, Iraq, and Burma, among others, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. All go through a rigorous vetting and screening process before resettlement. 

Read more: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Salt Lake City Police took a 44-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection to the burglar...
KSL NewsRadio staff writer

S.L. County D.A. declines to charge two officers in shooting, arrest

An ICE agent and Herriman City police detective were the subjects in D.A. Sim Gill's investigation. Gill will charge neither of the officers.
19 hours ago
Screen shot....
Mark Jones

Two-vehicle crash on westbound I-80 creates heavy delays

Traffic has come to a near stop on westbound I-80 Friday evening due to a traffic accident.
19 hours ago
Cottonwood Heights officials have begun the process of removing several stop signs in a neighborhoo...
Simone Seikaly

Here’s why some stop signs will be removed in Cottonwood Heights

Several stop signs in a Cottonwood Heights neighborhood were bagged and will be removed by the end of the year.
19 hours ago
A car driving on snowy road...
Devin Oldroyd

Mostly mountain snow expected this weekend through next week

SALT LAKE CITY — More wind, rain and snow are expected to hit the Beehive State over the next few days. To start, the National Weather Service reported a Winter Weather Advisory for the mountains north of I-80 today.  ❄A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the northern mountains north of I-80 for much […]
19 hours ago
police, lights, siren, emergency, law, officer, flashing, crime, cops, patrol, arrest, lock, speedi...
Chandler Holt

Speeder escapes after striking police vehicle

The driver entered the freeway and sped up to evade police. The suspect struck a Layton City officers vehicle before taking off again.
19 hours ago
Drivers are pictured going down I-15...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

West Side community voices concerns over I-15 expansion

A UDOT expansion project has some residents voicing concerns. The project would span from Farmington to Salt Lake City.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Utah welcomes its first Afghan refugee after Kabul airlift