Afghan evacuees mark first US Ramadan with gratitude, agony

  • Qais Sharifi, left, and Abdul Amir Qarizada, right, leave the mosque in Las Cruces, N.M., after attending Friday prayer on April 1, 2022. Both Afghan men were evacuated to the United States when Kabul fell to the Taliban without even the time to bring their wives and children. So instead of celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with their loved ones, they planned to partake of free nightly iftar meals at the Southern New Mexico Islamic Center. (AP Photo/Giovanna Dell'Orto)

  • Wolayat Khan Samadzoi watches through the open balcony door of his apartment for the sliver of new moon to appear in the cloudless sky, where the sun had set beyond a desert mountain, in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, April 2, 2022. Samadzoi and thousands of other Afghans evacuated to the United States as the Taliban regained power last summer are celebrating their first Muslim holy month of Ramadan here – grateful to be safe, but agonizing over their families back home under the repressive Taliban regime. (AP Photo/Giovanna Dell'Orto)

  • Afghan refugee Shirkhan Nejat, left, talks to his 2-month-old son, Ansar, at the family’s Oklahoma City apartment on Saturday. In the background are Joseph Pham, left, a refugee case manager for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City; a translator, center; and Carly Akard, director of communications for Catholic Charities. (AP Photo/Bobby Ross Jr.)

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Sitting cross-legged on the floor as his wife and six children laid plates of fruit on a red cloth in front of him, Wolayat Khan Samadzoi watched through the open balcony door for the sliver of new moon to appear in the cloudless New Mexico sky, where the sun had set beyond a desert mountain.