‘Make our community stronger’: St. Louis leaders say Afghans are an opportunity | Politics

The president of the International Institute, Arrey Obenson, said his organization was already under strain.

Finding suitable accommodation for everyone in one of the hottest real estate markets in recent memory is perhaps the biggest challenge.

“We will have to be creative as a community to meet the need,” Obenson said.

It was not immediately clear what assistance other organizations would provide, although Jones noted that President Joe Biden had set aside $ 500 million to help Afghan refugees.

Other speakers at the press conference sought to further highlight the opportunity in St. Louis and the desperate situation Afghans are fleeing after a US-backed government fell last weekend.

Azizullah Ahmadi recounted how, as a child, Taliban fighters arrested him simply for carrying a book.

Peter Lucier, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, said those who came had fought alongside the Americans and should be treated accordingly.

“We owe a debt to these people,” he said.

And Adnan Omeragic, a Bosnian who came here in 1999, offered himself as an example of the kind of person who needs St. Louis’s help. As a teenager, he made his way from descent of a plane on a wet summer day to raising a family, earning a master’s degree in architecture, partnering in his firm and finally to join the board of directors of the International Institute to give back.

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