Fort McCoy military base, US – In the weeks leading up to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, a journey to the United States through perilous checkpoints, sleepless nights and multiple flights was largely unimaginable for the thousands of Afghans now living at Fort McCoy military base.

But as the Taliban captured the country’s capital, Kabul, in mid-August, getting onto departing American flights became the best hope for survival for countless Afghans who feared retaliation from the group.

Now, weeks after the hurried and chaotic evacuations, Afghan families find themselves in an unfamiliar place thousands of kilometres from home.

Al Jazeera spoke to several Afghans* at Fort McCoy, an expansive US military base in western Wisconsin where they are awaiting immigration processing before being released into host

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