Boy from Afghanistan is finally home with his new family in Florida

This 10-year-old boy was in Afghanistan waiting to be welcomed home by his new family in Florida when Kabul fell to the Taliban.

Boy from Afghanistan is finally home with his new family in Florida

Noman is like any other 10-year-old boy.

He loves pizza, chicken nuggets and ice cream - chocolate is his favourite flavour.

He likes playing on his tablet, learning to play football at school in Florida, and going to the park with his dad.

But just a few weeks ago, Noman was far away from this life of love and security.

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He was in Afghanistan, waiting to be welcomed home by his new family in Florida, when Kabul fell to the Taliban and the US evacuated more than 122,000 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport in its withdrawal.

Bahaudin Mujtaba says the journey to bring Noman home started five years ago.

He and his wife, Lisa Marie, looked into adoption once they realised they could not have children biologically.

The path to adopt from Afghanistan was filled with bureaucracy and paperwork, but the Mujtabas did not give up.

They worked with two adoption agencies, and Mr Mujtaba made several trips to Afghanistan to visit Noman.

Just when it looked like everything was ready for Noman to come to the US the Taliban took over Kabul.

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"We were just waiting for the US Embassy to call us for the final interview to issue a visa for my son to be able to travel to the US," Mr Mujtaba said.

"So while we're waiting, as you can see that the Taliban obviously took over the government so the chaos started happening."

But another US citizen was trying to get back to the US with a little boy he had adopted and agreed to bring Noman back with them.

So, with two sets of clothes and a snack in a small backpack, Noman started his long journey to Florida.

A long journey ahead

Mr Mujtaba says on the first day when Noman and the other family tried to get to Kabul's airport they kept getting turned back by Taliban fighters.

But on the second day after trying for about six hours they had better luck.

"The Taliban were allowing those with American passport to go through along with a family member, and that's how my son was able to get through the Taliban security gates and make it to the American side," Mr Mujtaba said.

"So then they looked at my son's documents and they allowed him to enter the airport."

Noman and the other family then waited three days before they were able to get a flight as there were thousands of people there, according to Mr Mujtaba.

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The flight too was packed, and since everyone was sitting on the floor, when the plane took off Noman said he fell backwards on to the person behind him.

Then after two stops — one in Qatar, then in Germany, where he had to wait a few days at each place — he finally arrived in Washington, DC, where his father was waiting to meet him.

Noman said the experience was extremely stressful.

He described, with his father translating, the chaos outside the airport.

He said Taliban fighters were firing shots into the air and people were getting injured during the stampede as the crowd tried to disperse.

"There were thousands of people shoving and pushing and then Taliban forces were firing bullets into the air and sometimes, unfortunately, people were being hit," Mr Mujtaba said.

"And there was one gentleman who got shot.

"So that was tough for a 10-year-old boy to be among obviously thousands of others, sort of like a wave coming in pushing everybody back and forth."

"That was terrifying," Bahaudin added.

Noman Mujtaba is finally home in Florida

On his flight from Washington to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Noman was excited he was finally going to meet his mother and asked Mr Mujtaba how long the first hug would last.

"When we did arrive at the airport, she was waiting there with a gift for him, and the hug was a pretty good hug, but less than a minute, because they were other relatives and friends there as well," Mr Mujtaba said.

'Every day has been better'

Now, Noman is enjoying going to school, and he's also part of an English as a Second Language program.

"The first day when he went it was kind of difficult for him to let go of my hands, to sit in the class, but we encouraged him to go and told him all will be okay," Mr Mujtaba said.

"So, then he did go sit down with his classmates in the class, kind of being anxious."

But when Bahaudin went to pick him up from school Noman had already got over his initial shyness.

"He said it was very good... That the anxiety was removed and he was looking forward to the next day," Mr Mujtaba said.

"So, every day has been better than the previous day.

Mr Mujtaba said he has been trying to keep Noman active by taking him to the park and keeping him busy with chess, cards, puzzles and books.

Noman is happy at home now, but he's also worried about the people he left behind in Afghanistan.

"He was very upset that his friends and siblings and relatives were still there, because he knows that it was very challenging, very chaotic as the government was being transitioned and the Taliban were taking over," Mr Mujtaba said.

"It was rough days in Kabul, so he remembers that and he feels bad for the fact that he's here but his friends are in Afghanistan and perhaps in very dire circumstances."

Mr Mujtaba said he knows of many other trying to adopt, and the process should be made faster so they don't have to wait five years like he did.

But, he said, he is thankful to the State Department, to the US troops and everybody else who helped to bring Noman home.

Source : 9 News More   

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Bank Australia suffers outage, leaves customers stranded for hours

Bank Australia says an unexpected outage that left more than 160,000 customers unable to make payments or access their accounts has been resolved.

Bank Australia suffers outage, leaves customers stranded for hours

Australia says an unexpected outage that left more than 160,000 unable to make payments or access their accounts has been resolved.

The bank said it became aware of the outage about 9.15am today, before assuring customers the problem had been resolved about 7pm.

"Thank you for your patience today, the bank posted, .

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"We are sorry again for today's issues, the extended outage and the impact that this has had on you.

"We know that this isn't good enough and our customers rightly expect better from their bank.

"We're frustrated too and we'll be working with our technology partner to understand how this occurred and how it can be prevented from happening again."

The bank quickly took internet banking and its app offline this morning after discovering that transactions and balances were appearing incorrectly.

"Overnight maintenance has caused an unexpected issue with transactions and balances not appearing correctly in internet banking and the app," the bank said this morning.

"We're urgently working to fix this problem to correctly restore balances and transactions for customers as soon as possible.

"Please rest assured your true account balance and transactions will be restored and no money has been taken from your account."

Unhappy customers have taken to Facebook to complain about the outage, calling the delay in solving the issue "not good enough".

Many have posted about how they have been unable to make purchases or carry out their Sunday plans due to the outage.

Source : 9 News More   

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