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

FILE - A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the S...
Brad Lendon and Yoonjung Seo, CNN

North Korea claims to have tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone

(CNN) — North Korea on Friday claimed it had tested an underwater drone capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could create a “radioactive tsunami” — however analysts urged skepticism. A report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the drone, called the “Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Craft ‘Haeil,'” was tested from March 21 to […]
6 hours ago
An off-duty pilot stepped in to help after a Southwest pilot became ill during a flight, the airlin...
Pete Muntean, CNN

Off-duty pilot on Southwest flight steps in to help after pilot suffers in-flight medical emergency

 (CNN) — An off-duty pilot who was a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight stepped in to help the flight crew after one of the on-duty pilots had a medical emergency mid-flight. The incident began not long after Flight 6013 to Columbus, Ohio, took off from Las Vegas Wednesday, Southwest Airlines said. One of the […]
6 hours ago
Rep John Curtis promises to investigate stolen COVID relief money...
Mark Jones

Report: Rep. Curtis named one of most effective members of Congress

A new report out by the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University has Utah Rep. John Curtis listed as one of the most effective members of Congress.
1 day ago
A Woods Cross man, owner of USA Gymnastics World, was arrested Wednesday after police say they alle...
Lindsay Aerts & Devin Oldroyd

KSL EXCLUSIVE: “It’s been a punch to the gut,” Woods Cross mom of boy recorded on hidden device speaks out

A Woods Cross mother says "it's been a punch to the gut," being told her son is one of the children secretly recorded on a hidden device.
1 day ago
The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the shooting of two wild horses on the Onaqui Mounta...
Mark Jones

Reward offered for information on two wild horses shot earlier this month

The Bureau of Land Management says two wild horses were shot earlier this month on the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management area.
1 day ago
National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Z...
Devin Oldroyd

Zion National Park crews responding to road damage after rockfalls

SPRINGDALE, Utah — National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Kolob Canyons Road. According to a press release, these rockfalls are not the only events this winter that led to damage on park roads. They are only the most recent of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
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. 
Utah welcomes its first Afghan refugee after Kabul airlift