By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The images in Afghanistan shocked people around the world. When it became clear that the Taliban would take over large portions of the country, citizens rushed to the airport to try to leave.

Dr. Naqib Safi is a medical doctor who was born in Afghanistan but now lives in Virginia.

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Dr. Safi described his feeling when he saw images of people rushing to flee the country and even clinging to a departing plane before falling to their deaths.

“Disastrous, painful, disgusting, annoyed, angry, frustrated,” he said. “Why [have we] reached to this point?” he asked. ” I decided not to watch these videos again, they are so disturbing and it shows desperation.”

Dr. Safi is part of a group called ERADA, that has been trying to help Afghanistan. They even hosted the country’s former leader, President Ashraf Ghani in a virtual conversation in June just weeks before the former president left the country as the Taliban gained control.

“One of my major concerns has been and continues to be safeguarding the protection of public property, infrastructure, particularly the lives of civilians, women and children. I see horrible images,” said Dr. Safi.

Aid groups said there are tens of thousands of Afghans who want to leave the country and the CEO of Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service said they are helping Afghans who are trying to make it here to the U.S.

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“They feel helpless and hopeless, and so what we are trying to assure them is that there’s still action being taken and that we are still working hard to try to get them evacuated,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said there will be time to figure out what went wrong but right now the U.S. should focus on evacuations.

“We have an obligation to make sure that we don’t leave those people behind. It’s really important that we bring our folks home but provide refuge to those who have been partners with us,” said Senator Van Hollen.

Dr. Safi said throughout his life he’s seen numerous leadership changes in Afghanistan. He’s waiting to see what will happen next.

“Civilians are the most vulnerable ones in every single transition, and we hope that there will be a better day for everyone. I think Afghans deserve to live in peace,” said Dr. Safi.

Governor Larry Hogan said Maryland will welcome Afghans who risked their lives to help the U.S.

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In a tweet, the governor said “I am announcing Maryland’s commitment to receive more Afghan interpreters who have contributed to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Many of these Afghan citizens–our allies–bravely risked their lives to support our efforts, and we have a moral obligation to help them.”

Ava-joye Burnett