1st Afghan refugee since Taliban takeover arrives in Utah

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Azim Kakaie, 34, speaks during an interview Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Salt Lake City. The first Afghan refugee to arrive in Utah since the nation’s swift takeover by the Taliban is a man who built a life as an air-traffic controller in Kabul before he had to flee the country. Kakaie said that his wife tried to leave the country for days and endured beatings at Taliban checkpoints before she was able to board a plane. She’s now in Germany. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The first Afghan refugee to arrive in Utah since the nation’s swift takeover by the Taliban is a man who built a life as an air-traffic controller in Kabul before he had to flee. Azim Kakaie said Thursday that his wife tried to leave the country for days and endured beatings at Taliban checkpoints before she was able to board a plane. She’s now in Germany.

A devastating suicide bombing hit the airport just 30 minutes after she was admitted, killing 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans. Kakaie says he’s looking forward to building a life in Utah even as he still worries about his family back home.

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