By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the Salehi family’s loved ones In Afghanistan, the immediate lifeline for escape is gone as the United States has now withdrawn from the country.

“The toll to the family has been very significant. They have all been in a state of total terror essentially,” Azim Salehi told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “They don’t know what’s going to happen next, and they are looking at us as their only hope to get them out of there.”

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All the Salehi family can do now is watch and wait from their home almost 7,000 miles away in Howard County and try to keep their nine relatives in Kabul calm.

“Two to three times a day they call my wife and they talk and they are terrified,” Azim said. “Think about those people who don’t have any family in the United States. Think about those people who don’t have food to eat. They are in a horrible situation. Think about that teenager who held onto the airplane and was dropped from the sky. Think about how lucky we are.”

Desperate to leave, family members tried heading to the Kabul airport and narrowly missed the deadly explosion there last week.

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“They decided let’s take our chances and go to the airport. They were about a block and a half away from the blast. They were lucky but terrified, and they turned around and came back. If they had left maybe ten minutes earlier, they would have probably been killed.”

Among their relatives is a teenage girl, the same age as Azim’s daughter Zorah Salehi, too scared of the Taliban to leave the house.

“How afraid are you for her?” Hellgren asked Zorah. “Very. I couldn’t imagine being in that situation. I feel really bad for my family over there,” she said.

Azim Salehi and his wife have tried contacting Maryland lawmakers and aide groups—anything to get the family free from Taliban rule—but their efforts so far have not been successful.

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“When we tell them they’re going to be ok, we are not confident that things are going to be ok. I don’t know what to tell them,” he said. “They are family. Our house is open to them. Our big concern is to get them out of there. It doesn’t matter where they go. They just have to be safe.”