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A Taliban fighter, right, searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport in Kabul in August 2021, after the Afghanistan government collapsed.

I was recently in a random shop at the Johnson City Mall totally not expecting a nice East Tennessee warm fuzzy, but I got one anyway. As I made my purchase, the conversation with two of the young salesclerks turned to the fact that a dear friend of mine had just arrived in Johnson City from Afghanistan. Ours is the community where she will build a new life for herself and her young kids.

Fascinated by her story, the guy and girl in the shop asked me to pass a welcome to her from them. They were eager for her to come by the shop so they could meet her and offer recommendations of favorite local haunts. This is who East Tennesseans are.

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