Ten Weeks After Escaping Kabul, Women's Rights Activist Found Herself in Texas Without Food, Money and 3 of Her Kids

The support system designed to welcome Afghan evacuees to the U.S. was overwhelmed by their numbers. Roshan Mashal’s family was one of many that slipped through the cracks

Roshan Mashal
Kenzi Abou-Sabe / NBC News

Roshan Mashal had been fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan for more than a decade when the Taliban took over in August 2021. Their lives in peril, she and 18 other prominent activists targeted by the Taliban were given seats on a flight and airlifted with their families out of Kabul. Their evacuation was arranged with the aid of women’s rights organizations and the State Department.

Ten weeks after escaping to safety in the U.S. as part of the Biden administration’s “Operation Allies Welcome," Mashal found herself out of food and money in a Texas apartment, with no access to healthcare or transportation, and separated from three of her children.

Mashal, her husband and children were among the more than 76,000 evacuees who poured into the U.S. after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Her family’s bumpy first year in the U.S. highlights the cracks in the resettlement system that have left whole families stuck in hotel rooms for months, overwhelmed by the paperwork needed to start their lives in America.

“We are struggling with this complicated system,” Mashal said. “There is one caseworker with 60 clients.”

For more on this story, go to or watch NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt” June 20 at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.

Contact Us