St. Louis, MO. – An Afghan native, taken into federal custody in St. Louis, has arrived in Afghanistan. Mahir Mohammad has been a permanent, legal resident in St. Louis for the past 22 years. His family says he was taken to a facility in Arizona before being deported on the 18th. His family says after a long few days, they’ve finally made contact.
"He is our foundation,” said Mahir’s daughter, Piamana Mohammad. “He's the patriarch of our family and I need him in my life."
Mohammad describes a hectic week of trying to figure out her father’s whereabouts.
"Every person you call, they don't give you a direct answer or they don't want to tell you the right answer," said Piamana.
Mahir’s family has been communicating with him through his brother in Kabul, who picked Mahir up from the airport early Thursday morning. His nephew, Qayum, says no one knew which plane his uncle was on or when exactly it was to arrive.
"So, his brother was really worried,” Qayum explains. “He was constantly calling us to find out about his whereabouts."
Qayum is one of the owners of Sameem Afghan Restaurant in the Grove neighborhood. He says his main concern is for Mahir’s declining health and for his safety.
"Whoever helps the united states government is considered infidel in their view."
Mahir’s brother served with U.S. forces as a translator in Afghanistan – which, by extension, puts Mahir at risk.
They have a death sentence for that kind of action,” said Qayum.
Now, Mahir’s wife and daughter are prepared to move back to Kabul.
“At this point, because he is so sick and has so many illnesses, he is my father, I can’t just leave him alone back there," said Piamana.
But, the decision to relocate is not without reservation. Mahir’s wife is also in need of immediate medical attention. For Piamana, it means leaving Fontbonne University, where she is pre-med.
"Everybody has a dream, but at this point, I don't see that dream coming true," Piamana explains.
Mahir’s family tells us he did serve time for a gun possession crime a decade ago.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official says that because of his prior conviction, Mahir is barred from reentering the U.S.
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