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Taliban takeover rattles New Yorkers of Afghan descent: ‘U.S. helped a lot… but it didn’t bring peace’

Street scene in Kabul, Afghanistan. (ICMA Photos/Flickr)

Abdul Haye had been warily watching the Taliban tear through his native Afghanistan when he got an urgent call days ago from his sister in Kandahar.

The Taliban, she told him, had confiscated her home for use in the fighting and put her and her three children — 6, 13 and 15 — on the street.

“She had to live on the street with her children, no food, no water,” said Haye, 48, of Queens. “They were using the house to fight the government. When she got back in, the house was destroyed. They stole everything.”

For the thousands of Afghan natives living in the city, the sight of their homeland collapsing once again into chaos has been a difficult pill to swallow, their hopes dashed that a U.S. role there would bring at least some long-term stability.

“The U.S. helped a lot in Afghanistan. They build a lot of things, they tried to support the government, but it didn’t bring peace,” Haye said. “They should have brought the peace and then take out the soldiers. Everybody in Afghanistan needs peace from all sides.”

Haye fears a replay of 1996, when the Taliban last took control after a brutal four-year civil war that started when the U.S. and Russia withdrew support for less extreme factions.

“It’s going to be 1996 again,” he said. “The focus has to be no more killing of innocent people anymore. That’s what I’m worried about. The little kids, the little children sleeping in the streets. My heart doesn’t accept that.”

Haye moved to the U.S. 30 years ago and built a business operating Kennedy Chicken franchises. He settled in Queens and has five children, whose ages range from 7 to 24. He currently owns two outlets in the Bronx.

Muhammad Ayas, 46, an ethnic Afghan from the Pakistani city of Mardan, said he fled to Queens 12 years ago after the Taliban bombed the city.

“Civilians were killed, children were killed, doctors were killed, they are bad people in my opinion,” said Ayas, manager of Bakhter Halal Kebab Afghan, a restaurant in Flushing. “We suffered from them, suffered a lot.”

Ayas said he is particularly concerned about the treatment of women. The Taliban closed schools for girls and stripped women of a range of freedoms during its earlier control of Afghanistan, which ended after the U.S. invaded after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Ayas’ niece is currently completing a medical residency in the states.

“We should educate each and everyone, even the females,” he said. “Females have the right to education and do whatever they like from a good perspective, if someone is going to kill her, how should I feel? I don’t like the perspective of those people (Taliban) and we were bloodied by those people for five to seven years.”

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