Free World - September 15, 2021

Roughly 5.9 million Afghans and 9.2 million Iraqis have left their homes since t…


Roughly 5.9 million Afghans and 9.2 million Iraqis have left their homes since the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the two longest-running wars in U.S. history.

About a quarter-million of those displaced landed in the United States as refugees or special-status immigrants, granted visas because they served the U.S. war mission. Thousands more have arrived in recent weeks, evacuated amid the chaotic U.S. withdrawal, and the Taliban’s seizure of power.

They have arrived over the past two decades as individuals and in waves, settling in California and Texas, New York and Indiana; in large cities and suburbs, small towns and state capitals.

Though many have flourished, their lives are colored by a certain ambivalence. Their journeys to the land of opportunity were spurred by tragedy and loss, propelled by the wars launched by the United States and in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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