June 11, 2024 // Diocese

After Years Apart, Afghan Refugee Reunites with His Family

Last year, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend reported on Ahad, an Afghan Second Lieutenant Aviation Officer with a bachelor’s degree in science. After the fall of the Afghan government in August of 2021, he was forced to flee from his country without his pregnant wife. Resettled by the Refugee Department at Catholic Charities, Ahad quickly began working with the Immigration Department to file for asylum for him and his family.

As soon as the immigration team at Catholic Charities received the asylum approval for Ahad, they began to focus on helping him reunite with his wife and child. Working together, the team filed for the Asylee Relative Petition. They were told the processing time for the initial part of the petition could take close to two and a half years to then be transferred to the U.S. Consulate abroad. With the chaos facing those in Afghanistan, the application was sent with a hope and prayer that the petition would be approved quickly for Ahad’s family.

Provided by Catholic Charities
In 2023, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend helped to reunite Ahad with his wife, Damsa, and thier son.


“This was the best chance I had to reunite with my family safely in the United States,” Ahad said. “I didn’t know how long it would take, but I hoped I would see my wife and baby soon.”

Ahad spent almost two years separated from his family before he received the news that his relative petition had been approved and he would soon be contacted by the U.S. Embassy for his family’s interview details.

“When I called my wife to tell her the news, she could not believe it,” Ahad recollected. “After living through so much turmoil after I left, having her rights stripped away for being a woman and managing to give birth to our child alone without me there, she never thought I would have the chance to see my son while he was still a baby. She hoped that maybe when he was 5 or 6 the dream of being reunited would be possible. She was awestruck when I told her she needed to go to Pakistan for the visa interview.”

To file for an Asylee Relative Petition in the case with Afghans when the petition is approved by USCIS, the family members have to go to another country for their interview. Therefore, his wife, Damsa, had to go to Pakistan, which has the closest U.S. Embassy. After many barriers, she was finally allowed passage with her father and son.

“I had to act fast,” Damsa said. “Once in Pakistan, I had to secure a medical exam for my son and me prior to the interview. Once at the interview, I was told we could not receive our visas because I did not have my original marriage license with me. Ahad had taken it with him to the United States.”

“I anxiously waited and waited for the phone call from Damsa to hear the news about the interview,” recalled Ahad. “When she called me and told me they had denied her visa because they were requesting our marriage license, I contacted Catholic Charities Immigration Department. We worked together to find the best solution to make sure my wife would receive the marriage license. I knew we were so close to being back together as a family, I could not give up. We mailed the documentation, and within a few days, Damsa returned it to the embassy. It felt like eternity. I would check the status on her visa, and it showed no change. Finally, my wife called me to say she had received the visas.”

Ahad was finally able to reunite with his family in Chicago.

“I drove up to Chicago to meet them. When I saw them at the airport, it was an unforgettable moment. It didn’t feel real. I finally was able to hug and kiss my baby. I had seen him in video calls, but nothing compares to holding your son in your arms and truly being there with him. I am truly happy now that my family is here and joined together. When they were in my country, I was always worried about them. It was hard to be alone here, and to miss the birth of my child. I am happy now my family is safely together in Fort Wayne.”

When asked about the future, Damsa answered, “We can make anything work now that we are together; we can face any challenges.”

She hopes to continue her schooling and become a licensed midwife.

Ahad said his only focus had been on bringing his family here. “Now I can begin building my career as a pilot again, but this time in the United States.”

Nicole Kurut is Marketing Manager for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.


Join Catholic Charities and the Allen County Public Library for World Refugee Day on Thursday, June 20, to honor former refugees living in our community. The event, held at the Allen County Public Library’s Main Branch (900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will begin in the ACPL Conference Rooms with lunch and speakers, then move to the plaza for entertainment from around the world. For more information, and to register, visit

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