SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KRON) — An Afghan family that used to live in Sacramento arrived back in the United States this afternoon.

They spent more than a month trying to leave Afghanistan.

They were turned away by Taliban soldiers, beaten, and almost separated.

“I didn’t see a smile on the face of a single person there.”

Ahmad Seyar Zia has spent more than a month trying to get his family out of Afghanistan.

“It was a nightmare for us.”

He is the director of marketing for “Roots of Peace” — a humanitarian organization dedicated to the removal of landmines and replacing them with farmlands.

It’s based in San Rafael and Zia and his family lived in Sacramento. His 14-month old daughter Sedra was born in the U.S.

They moved back to Afghanistan when his father died of COVID-19 in November of 2020.

Because the baby is an American citizen, american troops said they could take only her back to the U.S. — leaving Zia, his wife and his 6-year-old son.

“My wife started to cry.”

Zia says he refused to let the troops take the baby, twice.  

“We’re her parents. We’re looking for safe passage.”

He says they worked with the state department and his employer “Roots of Peace” to get the family back here together.

He went to the airport nine times trying to leave.

He was beaten and risked his life each time.

“I was feeling the heat of the bullets which were coming out from those AK-47s.”

Roots of Peace is still working to get other employees that are based in Afghanistan to transforming landmines into farmland to the U.S.

The Zia’s were the first to be welcomed back to U.S., because they had an American — baby Sedra.

“Now I’m here and I hope what I’m feeling now my other colleagues will feel soon.”

He says although he is grateful to be back here in the U.S., he is still worried about his other colleagues stuck in Afghanistan.